Ruff Ryders’ Anthem by DMX Lyrics Meaning – Unpacking the Gritty Streets of Hip-Hop Resilience

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for DMX's Ruff Ryders' Anthem at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Somethin’ new

Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no
That’s how Ruff Ryders roll
Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no
That’s how Ruff Ryders roll

Niggas wanna try (what?)
Niggas wanna lie (what?)
Then niggas wonder why (what?)
Niggas wanna die (what?)
All I know is pain (what?)
All I feel is rain (what?)
How can I maintain (what?)
With mad shit on my brain? (What?)
I resort to violence (what?)
My niggas move in silence (what?)
Like you don’t know what our style is (what?)
New York niggas the wildest (what?)
My niggas is wit’ it (what?)
You want it? Come and get it (what?)
Took it, then we split it (what?)
You fuckin’ right, we did it (what?)
What the fuck you gon’ do (what?)
When we run up on you? (What?)
Fuckin’ wit’ the wrong crew (what?)
Don’t know what we goin’ through (what?)
I’ma have to show niggas (what?)
How easily we blow niggas (what?)
Lemme find out there’s some more niggas (what?)
That’s runnin’ with your niggas (what?)
Nothin’ we can’t handle (what?)
Break it up and dismantle (what?)
Light it up like a candle (what?)
Just ’cause I can’t stand you (what?)
Put my shit on tapes (what?)
Like you bussin’ grapes (what?)
Think you holdin’ weight? (What?)
Then you haven’t met the apes (what?)

Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no
That’s how Ruff Ryders roll
Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no
That’s how Ruff Ryders roll

Is y’all niggas crazy? (What?)
I’ll bust you and be Swayze (what?)
Stop actin’ like a baby (what?)
Mind your business, lady (what?)
Nosy people get it too (what?)
When you see me spit at you (what?)
You know I’m tryin’ to get rid of you (what?)
Yeah, I know it’s pitiful (what?)
That’s how niggas get down (what?)
Watch my niggas split rounds (what?)
Make y’all niggas kiss ground (what?)
Just for talkin’ shit, clown (what?)
Oh, you think it’s funny (what?)
Then you don’t know me, money (what?)
It’s about to get ugly (what?)
Fuck it, dog, I’m hungry (what?)
I guess you know what that mean (what?)
Come up off that green (what?)
Rob niggas on Ravine (what?)
Don’t make it a murder scene (what?)
Give a dog a bone (what?)
Leave a dog alone (what?)
Let a dog roam (what?)
And he’ll find his way home (what?)
Home of the brave (what?)
My home is a cage (what?)
And yo, I’m a slave (what?)
‘Til my home is the grave (what?)
I’ma pull capers (what?)
It’s all about the papers (what?)
Bitches caught the vapors (what?)
And how they wanna rape us (what?)

Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no
That’s how Ruff Ryders roll
Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no
That’s how Ruff Ryders roll

Look what you done started? (What?)
Asked for it, you got it (what?)
Had it, should have shot it (what?)
Now you’re dearly departed (what?)
Get at me, dog, did I rip shit? (What?)
With this one here, I flip shit (what?)
Niggas know when I kick shit (what?)
It’s gonna be some slick shit (what?)
What was that look for (what?)
When I walked in the door? (What?)
Oh, you thought you was raw? (What?)
Boom, not anymore (what?)
‘Cause now you on the floor (what?)
Wishin’ you’d never saw (what?)
Me walk through that door (what?)
With that four-four (what?)
Now it’s time for bed (what?)
Two more to the head (what?)
Got the floor red (what?)
Yeah, that nigga’s dead (what?)
Another unsolved mystery (what?)
Is goin’ down in history (what?)
Niggas ain’t never did shit to me (what?)
Bitch ass niggas can’t get to me (what?)
Gots to make a move (what?)
Got a point to prove (what?)
Gotta make ’em groove (what?)
Got ’em all like “ooh” (what?)
So ’til the next time (what?)
You hear this nigga rhyme (what?)
Try to keep your mind (what?)
On gettin’ pussy and crime (what?)

Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop

Talk is cheap, motherfucker

Full Lyrics

Deep within the gritty beats and raw energy of DMX’s 1998 powerhouse, ‘Ruff Ryders’ Anthem’ lies a complex web of streetsmart philosophy, gangland poetics, and unapologetic bravado. This song, more than just an anthem for the collective of bikers and artists known as the Ruff Ryders, encapsulates a moment in hip-hop when authenticity was measured through one’s ability to survive and narrate the chaos of urban life.

Through an unwavering cadence and relentless questioning, DMX forces listeners to confront a world where loyalty, toughness, and survival are not just ideals but necessities. To understand ‘Ruff Ryders’ Anthem’ is to understand a layer of the hip-hop ethos that champions the struggles while also questioning the very life that comes with them.

The Call of the Streets: A Battle Cry for Survival

When DMX commands the floor with ‘Stop, drop, shut’em down, open up shop,’ he isn’t just concocting a catchy hook; he’s announcing a modus operandi for street survival. This insistent refrain doubles as both instruction and declaration—an encompassing method for handling conflict in the streets. It lays bare the cyclical nature of street challengers rising and falling, essentially highlighting the ephemerality of power within street contexts.

The immediacy of these commands leaves no room for hesitation, serving as a grim reminder of the life-or-death stakes experienced in these environments. It’s the Ruff Ryders’ rulebook, a testament to their hardness and a clear acknowledgment that the world they’re describing doesn’t play by the traditional rules of engagement.

Hidden Meanings: Resilience Wrapped in Rhyme

What may at first glance seem like a glorification of violence and braggadocio is, upon closer inspection, an unvarnished look at the coping mechanisms employed by those embroiled in the harsh realities of street culture. The repetitive questioning posed by DMX (‘what?’) after each line becomes a device that compels the listener to dig deeper into the soul of the song—each ‘what’ serving as a prompt to consider the pain and fortitude behind each verse.

The song’s hidden layers speak to the psychological armor necessary for survival. The act of internal questioning that DMX voices is emblematic of a mind ceaselessly evaluating risks and preparing for the next move. This hypervigilance is the psychological tuning required to navigate a world filled with danger and betrayal.

From Lyrics to Legacy: The Verse That Reverberates

The full-bodied line ‘I resort to violence, my niggas move in silence’ reveals more than a proclivity for aggression; it’s a commentary on the paradox of invisibility required to inhabit such a fraught landscape. To ‘move in silence’ is akin to crafting a ghostly presence amid chaos, where becoming unseen becomes an asset, a strategic advantage. It’s the dichotomy of being fearsomely loud in reputation, yet whisper-quiet in action.

This lyric not only cements the ethos of DMX’s Ruff Ryders but carries wraithlike into the ethos of hip-hop at large. The duality of violence as both a literal action and a metaphorical necessity illustrates the lengths to which one must go to exist, and more pressingly, endure, within the relentless streets that both cradle and curse its denizens.

A Cultural Pillar: The Anthem’s Sustained Echo in Hip-Hop

‘Ruff Ryders’ Anthem’ quickly transcended its roots, becoming a cultural staple that’s resonated through the years as a defiant symbol of personal agency. In a genre where the ferocity of one’s spirit is often tested, this track serves as an empowering reminder of the power of unity and collective identity within a shared struggle. It became an inadvertent battle hymn for those beyond the Ruff Ryders camp, speaking for many facing similar adversities.

As DMX barks and chants his way through the track, each word stirs a primal acknowledgment of fighting against the odds—a call that’s been answered by countless listeners who found in his voice a kindred spirit. The anthem’s reptuation within the industry, therefore, is not just because of its catchy hook, but because it resonates with an instinctual drive for resilience.

Iconic Echoes:

To label ‘Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop’ as memorable is an understatement; it’s an emblematic sonic blast that carries the weight of an entire movement. This chant-like verse has reverberated through time, finding its echo in countless fans, artists, and cultural moments. It’s a battle cry that encapsulates the raw energy and forces of will embodied by DMX and the community he represents.

The staying power of this line is not merely in its rhythmic lure, but in the fact it encapsulates the essence of an artist who lived his lyrics. DMX’s uncompromising attitude and the extremes of his life brought to bear upon this anthem make it more than just words—it’s a lived experience, and a visceral one, at that.

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