The 30 Greatest Months in Rap History

16. May 1998

Notable Events:
- DMX's "Ruff Ryders Anthem" is released on 5/5/1998 
- Jermaine Dupri's "Money Ain't a Thang (feat. Jay-Z)" is released on 5/11/1998

- Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic" is released on 5/12/1998 
Bulworth is released in theatres on 5/15/1998 
- DMX's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot is released on 5/19/1998

The incendiary emergence of DMX became very real in May of 1998, propelled by his seminal debut It's Dark and Hell is Hot. Speaking to a young and tenacious audience that was beaten but not buried, the Yonkers-bred MC's ravenous vocals snapped over gritty production, capturing a space in hip-hop that traded in Rolexes and shiny suits for a tattered bandana and a Louisville Slugger. His impetuous single "Ruff Ryders Anthem" perfectly personified this aesthetic, and when It's Dark entered the Billboard charts at No. 1 a week later, it was clear who the top dog was.

In stark contrast, a budding producer out of Atlanta was looking to shape his own rap career, but with money as his motivation. After scoring hits for singers and MCs alike, Jermaine Dupri snagged Brooklyn's finest for a record that proposed an affluent toast to the lavish life. Dupri may not have been lyrically up to snuff on "Money Ain't a Thang," but the song was an integral moment in expanding the regional barriers previously held in rap. —Edwin Ortiz

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