DMX and Jay-Z have a storied connection. Although their relationship is now in a great place, there was a time when the Jigga Man and the Dog were not seeing eye-to-eye. During an interview with The Breakfast Club on Tuesday, Ruff Ryders founders, Waah, Dee, and Chivon Dean explain why things went left.
Around the interview's 54-minute mark, Chivon Dean decided to put things bluntly.
"Egos," Dean said. Waah then took it further by explaining that DMX was upset with Hov for not leveraging his position as the Def Jam president to help give him the materials he needed for his album.
"What had happened was Jay-Z called X and told him 'The inmates have took over the prison.' And when your man Jay-Z got in position X felt like he didn't honor him and hold weight like he was supposed to."
While this might have been the tipping point, X and Hov's friction dates back to their years as underground artists when the pair met up for a legendary battle in the Bronx. Although the winner was unclear, both X and Hov felt like they were the respective victor. As a result, Dee feels like X wasn't too keen on "answering" to Hov now that Jay was the label president.
"In [DMX's] mind he was like, 'I won, I'm better than you.' So when Hov wound up being president at Def Jam he felt like he had to answer to him and X didn't like that," Dee said. "He felt some type of way about Hov dictating his future."
This friction caused DMX to leave Def Jam and release his sixth studio album, Year of the Dog...Again, on Columbia Records in 2006.
While the Ruff Ryders had a star-studded roster, DMX was the heart and soul of the label. Yet, his immense talent came with a lot of issues including an addiction to crack cocaine. The Deans knew about this, but they also believed in his ability.
"I was the one who signed him when he had a problem," Waah said. "I was the one going in and out of those houses, going to get him. I was working with X when he was in the matrix—when he was in the galaxy. I always supported X and did the right deal to make sure he was alright. ... Once you in you family."
"We already dealing X on crack probably for 8 years before we got a damn deal so that was nothing," Dee added. "We was dealing with him like that on the regular. We just believed in him."
Dee and Waah did have business differences with X. At a point, it was rumored that Waah offered X ownership of the label after he dropped his monstrous debut and sophomore albums. This never materialized leading X to distance himself from the situation. Waah tells The Breakfast Club that this was merely a misunderstanding that was facilitated by lawyers.
"There was a lot of ego games and [DMX] had managers who wanted to get control of the situation," Waah said after stating that he would've had no issue giving DMX partial ownership of Ruff Ryders for all that he did for the imprint.
Watch Waah, Dee, and Chivon Dean's full appearance on The Breakfast Club above.