“X Gon Give It to Ya” by DMX
During his heyday DMX was a hype rapper, i.e. a hype man and a rapper rolled into one. And like Snoop Dogg out west, he was able to capitalize on what we will refer to as a canine-inspired motif.
So when combining those factors you get songs such as this whereas, according to one site, the rapper ‘growls, barks and snarls’. And the result is one of the most-memorable tracks of X’s distinguished career. And yes, DMX is in fact the titular “X”.
But you’d likely be hard-pressed to identify any fans of “X Gon Give It to Ya”, of which they are many, who really know what the verses are about. That sometimes the downside, if you will, of being a vocalist as overpowering as DMX. That is to say that the artist’s personality can actually draw attention away from his lyrics.
Lyrics of “X Gon Give It to Ya”
But that being noted, the first verse is obviously centered on gun violence and DMX’s participation in such. More specifically, as established in some of his earlier works, X is a true ‘hood ni-ga who can get down and dirty when the occasion calls for it.
And in this passage he is addressing his interaction with such opps. And basically what he’s saying is that if some serious beef actually does go down, not only will he take initiative in bringing it (i.e. initiate a preemptive strike), but he will also inevitably emerge victorious over his enemies.
The second verse also follows a similar theme, in that quite a few bars are dedicated to addressing rivals. However, it is a lot more versatile than the first, i.e. dealing with other topics also. For example, this time around, X doesn’t really allude to gun violence. Rather it’s more like he is able to reign over his adversaries due to possessing a superior work ethic.
Moreover he alludes to his overall ‘hood viability, comparing himself to a prison inmate in terms of his wildness. But the beginning of the verse operates along a completely-different subject matter, with the rapper apparently speaking to the likes of freeloaders.
And what he is saying in that regard is that he’s not the type to distribute handouts. But X may also be speaking to his musical rivals in a roundabout kinda way. And in doing so, he is letting them know that he’s not going to relent in the name of allowing them the opportunity to also shine.
A relentless Person
And in fact the relentless nature of the vocalist is what this song is primarily themed on. This is not only in the street sense but also, most pointedly as far as the chorus is concerned, his approach to music.
Indeed the chorus is sort of a giant double entendre. When X exclaims “we gonna rock” and “we gonna roll”, of course on the surface those reads like musical suggestions.
But it can also be in relation to him and his homeys wildin’ out if the situation calls for it. And the same goes for ‘letting it pop’ and ‘letting it go’, with the term pop being an established slang term for shooting someone.
But to a more naïve listener, for all they know DMX is talking about the excitability of his music. And like for the phrase “X gon’ give it to ya”. Within the context of the first verse for instance, that saying would be interpreted as him bringing it to an opp.
But it can also allude to the adrenaline rush some people will experience by listening to songs like this. Indeed if you were to hear this track in a club, there’s likely going to be a lot of moshing, shall we say, as opposed to more-organized dancing.
Meanwhile the third verse is like DMX’s version of an inspirational rap. In this case he is showing “love” to his homeys, who likewise tend to “give it back”. He also seemingly encourages dudes in the audience in general to not “give up” especially, it appears, in the pursuit of money.
But the rapper further clarifies that such encouragement “ain’t even about the dough”. Instead it is about staying true and persistent to whatever it is you may “stand for”.
So conclusively, we can look at this song as so. The “you” in the title can be you the listener, or it can be one of DMX’s enemies. And depending on who the addressee is, the meaning of the song changes, even though at the end of the day it all ultimately points to X being hardcore rap musician. And sort of out of nowhere, he also adds generally-motivational passage to the track to boot.
Release Date of “X Gon Give It to Ya”
This song served as the lead single to the soundtrack to Cradle 2 the Grave. Cradle 2 the Grave was a movie that came out in 2003. The movie actually starred DMX alongside action superstar Jet Li and featured other notable actors such as Mark Dascascos, Gabrielle Union and Tom Arnold.
It was the unofficial follow-up to Romeo Must Die (2000), another film which starred both Jet Li and DMX, though the latter to a much lesser degree. Indeed around the turn of the century, X was one of the hottest new actors in the action-movie circuit, having for instance co-starred on the 2001 Steven Seagal joint Exit Wounds.
The Cradle 2 the Grave soundtrack also featured two other DMX tracks – Right/Wrong and the collaborative effort Getting Down – as well X being making an appearance on the Eminem-led Go to Sleep.
It topped Billboard’s Soundtrack Albums chart, reached number 6 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA. And just to note, “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” ultimately proved to be the only single released from that project.
This track also made it onto a DMX greatest hits’ albums entitled “The Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter” in 2007. And that is because “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” was in fact a hit, especially abroad.
In fact having peaked at number two on the UK R&B Chart, number six on the UK Singles Chart and being certified platinum across the pond (as well as gold in Italy and Denmark) it is, according to reliable sources, the most-successful song DMX ever dropped as far as international markets are concerned.
And whereas it didn’t particularly have an impressive showing on the Billboard Hot 100, it broke the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart and was certified platinum by the RIAA.
This song did not achieve platinum status until 2017. It had experienced a massive resurgence in popularity the year prior, charting in four European nations for instance, as a result of being prominently featured on the hit movie Deadpool.
The song also played a role in 2018’s Deadpool 2 and overall has enjoyed a notable pop media presence. This includes being utilized by the MLB, MMA and on the television shows such as Rick and Morty and Euphoria.
Additionally it made its way onto quite a few videogames, such as a mod for the Resident Evil 2 remake which was released in 2019 and Def Jam Vendetta, a wrestling game which actually featured a few rappers, including DMX.
Production and Writing Credits of “X Gon Give It to Ya”
This track was produced by Swizz Beatz as well as another artist known as Shatek. And they both also get songwriting credit alongside DMX.