DMX, "Year of the Dog ... Again"
Hip-hop top dog DMX reigns over the competition in a week that features little in the way of highly anticipated releases. "Year of the Dog ... Again" is DMX's first album following a three-year run of legal problems and acting forays. The canine-enamored rapper's return has been greeted with mostly middling response. Rolling Stone (rating: 3/5 stars) praised the album's "classic formula" of "head-drilling fanfares" and "adrenalized, gland-chewing rhymes," but other critics found the formula less effective.
"It's more of the same old, same old," offered Allmusic (rating: 2.5/5 stars); "the album will be of lasting value only to those who can't get enough of the MC's unflinching outrageousness." A recent article in the New York Times was even more unflinching in its criticism, as it noted that the album "shows the limits of DMX's unusual approach to hip-hop" and that it "might be his least satisfying yet." Alluding the rapper's recent legal troubles, the Times also decried the album's lack of lyrical detail, asking, "What's the point of living a tabloid life if you aren't going to rap about it?"
The online community was more forgiving, though, particularly hip-hop site Nobody's Smiling, which gushed over the "near flawless" album and cleverly reminded us, "Every Dog has its day, but this may very well be the Year of the Dog ... Again."
-- David Marchese