The Great Depression is DMX's fourth full length and the one I was most looking forward too. Why? A touch of nostalgia, I remember seeing it in the local record store all those years ago, the cover stuck in my mind. Unfortunately Its been a tad disappointing. X has an exuberant energy as he spits, a rock steady flow but the lyrics have been steadily on the decline and their is no signs of change here. An over reliance on cursing and vulgarity had my interest slipping. The occasional track like "Shorty Was Da Bomb" starts to border distasteful, flaunting takes stage over topics that require a serious measure of empathy and understanding, yet X plays up his self centered life style. This becomes increasingly frustrating on his glorified conversations with God, which seems to be an enabling mechanism to justify his actions. Of course some lyrics are fictitious but X has a reputation and jail time to prove it cant all be for show.
The albums production is handled by a few names, mostly sticking to Swizz Beatz's blueprint sound. He throws together a few songs too however they are the weaker in the track listing. Dame Grease produces the albums best songs "We Right Here" and "Who We Be", the second of which X raps over with two word lines, "The [insert rhyme here]", reminiscent of Juvenile's "Ha". "Bloodline Anthem" is a breath of fresh air, a track played by a live band, possibly. It has a tanned distortion guitar ripping a steady power chord drive as a synth hook plays a catchy melody over the top between Dia singing the chorus. "Damien III" marks the return of the evil voice in X's mind, revealed to be the devil himself this time, the dynamic is still strong and dark. Its followed by "When I'm Nothing", a summer breeze, sun soaked feel good track that sounds so out of place in this record, X is to thuggish for the vibes. Personally I adore the beat, reminds me of "Mo Money Mo Problems" by Notorious B.I.G, the difference is he made his style suit the Disco influenced number.
After a reasonable start the record fizzles out with a weaker selection of beats. X's lyricism doesn't do a lot for me on this record. The same themes are turned over again and it feels like he is stagnating at this point. He doesn't quite have the same wild card feeling with the spontaneous barking growling and these things just added up. The beats held this one over but I'm not hopeful anything better is going to come of the rapper who clearly has an incredible flow but the content is really lacking.
Favorite Tracks: Who We Be, Bloodline Anthem, When I'm Nothing