Year of the Dog … Again

In an industry that worries more about itemizing 50 Cent’s gunshot wounds than his ideological beliefs, image is everything. Since 2004, DMX has been arrested three times on some very non-hardcore offenses, which might be a problem for his image and his sales. The lyrics and beats on Dog don’t seem as strong as others have been in the past, but maybe that’s just the weak arrest record mixing bias with the bass. True fans of the Ruff Ryders’ barking gangsta will find something here to appreciate. X does take a little time to rap with God, and that’s where he shines: The drama of a habitual sinner begging for strength and forgiveness is fascinating. But those tracks are the exception; a majority of this music features the “ghetto” version of DMX, much more bark than bite.