Swizz Beatz has returned with more details regarding DMX’s forthcoming posthumous album Exodus, shortly after paying tribute to late Ruff Ryders legend during the 2021 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (May 23).
Speaking to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, DMX’s longtime friend and producer revealed the Verzuz battle between X and Snoop Dogg was really the catalyst for Exodus.
“When he did Verzuz and went to the next level, because he’s see the people still had love for him,” Swizz Beatz said. “A lot of artists, they don’t really know how the people feel about them. People can see you in the street, but music wise and how is that appreciation. Yeah. You want to take a picture, but do you really mess with me?”
Swizz then explained once DMX saw his music return to the Billboard Hot 100 chart following the Verzuz, he was even more motivated to put the project out.
“All his songs go to number one,” he continued. “He seen everything chart again. I showed him all of it. Then he was just pumped up. He was like the only thing I don’t like about my Verzuz is I wasn’t able to do something new. I want to give all of these people that’s looking at me something new immediately. That’s when that’s the album started.”
“We was locked in [at Snoop’s studio],” he said. ‘Shut down everything I had going on. I probably stepped away one or two times, but it was on at that point, and he was showing up. I had him coming in the studio earlier so we can get clear vocals, and we just got a schedule. The next phase of the album, as we finished, he was about to go into do a very extensive workout program.
“I had trainings ready for him, and he was ready to do it. He kept calling me like, yo, we going to go to phase two. Right? I’m like, yeah. He’s like, yeah, I’m ready to get this —- stomach off me. Then, the unfortunate situation happened, and I was just like … he was almost in that corner.”
During an album listening party via Zoom earlier this month, Swizz Beatz shared a similar sentiment and admitted DMX’s death took him by surprise.
“He was just in a good vibe,” he revealed to HipHopDX. “He was just in a good energy. I can’t lie. When he left us, I was pretty shocked because he was just ready to go to the next level. We started the album cycle and then we was going to start the physical fitness side of it.
“We was about to go to the gym. We was about to be on a different type of the schedule for the whole month and he was in a good space. All of a sudden, that news happened and it just changed all the plans.”
Exodus is expected to arrive on Friday (May 28) with features from Nas, JAY-Z, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, U2’s Bono, Alicia Keys, Griselda, Usher and Moneybagg Yo. The late Pop Smoke, who was originally on the album, didn’t make the cut.
Swizz explained, “The only tribute was the Moneybagg track. Everything else X was present and happy for. We had the conversation, and I told him, I said, ‘Yo, I know you don’t like a lot of features, but I think it’s time that people should see that other people love you as well and you’re respected by serious, serious artists.
“Although you’re humble, although you don’t really have features, let’s have fun with it, come out the gate. Then the next album, we can get back to how you want to do it, but let’s have some fun.’”
Swizz noted “he loved the idea of it” and soon figured out it was “less work” for him.
“He really loved it,” he said. “He was like, ‘Oh, I only got to do three verses? OK, tell Lil Wayne let’s go.’ So that was the good, the good part, man.”