2001: Earl Simmons, better known to the rap world as DMX, was a well-established name in the hip-hop world by the time he dropped his fourth studio album, The Great Depression on Oct. 23, 2001. The raspy-voiced Ruff Ryder star was already on a roll with two platinum selling albums …And Then There Was X and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood when he entered the new millennium. And having just started to getting into acting with films like Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds, X was no doubt feeling himself professionally. All of this bravado plus a state of mourning for the death of his industry friend Aaliyah showed on wax with The Great Depression.
Though the album was executive produced by Darrin & Joaquin Dean, X’s go to beatsmiths Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze and Kid Kold played instrumental roles in the production of the 17-track project. Depression was propelled by the singles “We Right Here,” “Who We Be” and “I Miss You” featuring Faith Evans. The album was met with lukewarm reviews from critics, but still fans loved it. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, moving 440,000 copies in the first week. The Great Depression marked X’s fourth consecutive album to debut at No. 1, thus solidifying Dark Man’s place in hip-hop history.