A revealing interview from Complex magazine shows members of Def Jam not believing in Dark Man X.
Irv Gotti, who was involved during the pinnacle of the Def Jam label in the mid- and late-1990s with his studio work with Jay-Z, Ja Rule, claims that the record label weren’t convinced of DMX‘s appeal to audiences.
The accomplished producer explained that Def Jam executives, Jay Z, Dame Dash were not sold on DMX. “First meeting I ever had, I was like, ‘We gotta sign DMX‘ and they laughed at me. Jay and Dame did not believe in DMX,” Irv Gotti added then-Roc-A-Fella Records partners Jay Z and Dame Dash elsewhere in the clip, noting that Jay Z said that people in the hood wouldn’t want to listen to DMX because Jay felt the music DMX made was depressing. See the Complex Magazine video.
Both DMX and Jay Z collaborated several times and teaming up in 1999 for the “Hard Knock Life Tour.” For several years, DMX’s album outsold Jay Z and Ja Rule.