AlbumVenni Vetti Vecci
Label: Murder Inc./Def Jam
Producer: Irv Gotti, Tyrone Fyffe, Lil Rob, Erick Sermon
Before Ja Rule was making pop hits (bay-bayyy) and DMX hated Ja Rule for for thinking it was a fucking game, Jay-Z actually considered forming a supergroup with the both of them called Murder Inc. The trio was immortalized on a memorable XXL cover where they appeared in all black everything. That cover was a nice counterpart to “It’s Murda,” a tough as nails cut off Ja’s 1999 debut, Venni Vetti Vecci. Despite Jay’s excellent verse and the fact it was Ja’s song, the real star here is DMX. It’s easy to forget, but in 1998 DMX was bigger than Jay—which is why he’s able to bogard the track and have Ja and Jay trying to get as gully and gutter as him. Still, Jay is slick like a gato leaving the track, “Slumping Kennedy, style with your memory out.” —Insanul Ahmed