DMX's beef with Jay-Z: Real story behind ‘egos’ of two multi-platinum emcees that sparked an infamous rap war

Ruff Ryders also brought out how Jay-Z helped get DMX out of debt at Def Jam by paying off as much as $12 million

                            DMX's beef with Jay-Z: Real story behind ‘egos’ of two multi-platinum emcees that sparked an infamous rap war
A look into the late rapper DMX and music legend Jay-Z's past feuds, from Murder Inc to Hard Knock life tour (Getty Images)

The ego clash between two of the most legendary rappers of all time, DMX and Jay-Z, is not unknown. The east-coast rappers were once a part of the supergroup Murder Inc, and toured across cities for Jay-Z's 'Hard Knock Life Tour' along with Ja Rule, Method Man and Redman. The late rapper DMX featured in Jay-Z's track 'Money, Cash, Hoes' part of Vol. 2... 'Hard Knock Life' making a lot of noise. While the duo's incredible talents posed the potential to break new records, it was their competitive spirit, right from their early 90's Bronx Battles to even much later, which caused the rift.

Later, the close ones who observed the duo growing and reaching new heights said that their "ego" always came first, which made it impossible for the pair to work together. Ruff Ryders, the entertainment company that once managed DMX aka Dark Man X spoke of this clash in detail in an hour-long interview at "The Breakfast Club" on Power 105.1. Waah, Dee, and Chivon Dean of Ruff Ryders admitted, "They had that past history of the competition, and that's the reason why it didn't happen", referencing why DMX and Jay-Z could not work together when JayZ became the president of Def Jam in 2004.


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Jay Z, Method Man, DMX, & Redman kicked off the Hard Knock Life Tour in Charlotte, N.C on February 27, 1999 (UPNORTHTRIPS Twitter)

DMX's beef with Jay-Z

The beginning of their ever-existing feud can be traced back to the early and mid-nineties when the duo engaged with each other in an intense face-off at Bronx Battle. Speaking of the infamous pool hall rap battle in the Bronx where Jay-Z and X went head to head in the early 90s before they were famous, Ruff Ryders stated even though they called it a draw, the tension remained.  "We called it a draw because they both was (sic) nice — X felt like he won, Hov gonna feel like he won — so it was an animosity there always", Ruff Ryders said in an interview. In another instance, Irv Gotti, the man who brought Jay-Z and DMX together for Murder Inc said in an interview, "They always had friction because they battled and X, like, hated him," Gotti added, "Jay didn’t really give a f**k but they was (sic) always on some competitive s**t. That’s just the truth."

DMX performs at Masters Of Ceremony 2019 at Barclays Center on June 28, 2019 in New York City.



JAY-Z paid a $12 million debt for DMX at Def Jam

However the animosity was between the two East coast rappers, Ruff Ryders also brought out how Jay-Z helped get DMX out of debt at Def Jam by paying off as much as $12 million. They gushed, "The good part about Def Jam — and I gotta give it to Hov — X was in debt over there. He probably owed about $12 million,” Dean revealed. When DMX left Def Jam for Sony, he said that Hov “released him and wiped off the debt clean and let him go. He didn't have to pay nothing back.”




DMX claims 'JayZ jealous'

DMX and Jay-Z both started riding the success ladder from the nineties. Jay-Z sold over 5 million copies of his 1998 Vol. 2... 'Hard Knock Life LP.' where DMX contributed to the track 'Money, Cash, Hoes.' At the same time, DMX released not one but two 'multiplatinum chart-topping' albums including 'It's Dark and Hell Is Hot' and 'Flesh of My Flesh and Blood of My Blood.' Much later in an interview with Rick Ross, DMX slammed Def Jam stating that the record label 'stopped focusing' on him after Jay-Z came in reigns. A report states that DMX even hinted that Jay-Z was jealous of him.


Jay Z and JaRule performing during the launch party for at the Roseland Ballroom in New York. (11/9/00) Photo: Scott Gries/ImageDirect


As with time gone, the close ones of the duo accepted that both the rappers could have made history together but they chose to do their own thing instead.

DMX at 50 passed away at White Plains Hospital on April 9, 2021. The family wrote a statement that said, "We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50 years old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days." As the news came out, the internet mourned an absolute legend whose contribution in solidifying East-coast as the Hip-hop hub will exist in history. SNL's Chris Redd, the comedian wrote, "My childhood and love for music would not have been the same without this man. DMX was easily my favorite artist growing up. I had every album, every ruff Ryder song, followed any artist he endorsed. Man....RIP the dog. There will never be another like him." Shaquille Rashaun "Shaq" O'Neal wrote, "We lost another Legend R.I.P DMX."






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