If you thought DMX was full of bull about doing his gospel album, he's apparently not. The Dog is still working on the project, which will be a double-LP of traditional X and nonsecular tunes called Walk With Me Now, Fly With Me Later. He's barking at two of the most influential producers in the game right now: Pharrell Williams and longtime collaborator Swizz Beatz.
"I'm helping him out with it," Swizz said Tuesday in New York. "I just hooked him up with Pharrell for the gospel joint."
Not even a month into '08, and Swizz already has his hands full with just-released music and tracks that are ready for the next few months. He's most excited about a reunion of the Ruff Ryders for their first family album. It will include himself, X, the LOX and Drag-On — all the originals who first exploded 10 years ago.
"I'm in my zone," Swizz noted. "I'm bringing the Ruff Ryders back real major in '08. It's gonna be a lot of Ruff Ryders sh-- in '08. Not taking away from D-Block, not taking away from Bloodline. It's stamping the brand that started all this sh--. They letting me do whatever I wanna do as the president [of the company]. This is what I wanna do. Do this album, 10 bangers. Trying to get a joint from [Dr.] Dre, Primo [DJ Premier]. We got Dame Grease. All the original producers, everything to make the Ruff Ryder album authentic head-banger hip-hop. I got everybody right now. X just sent me five verses. Trust me. I don't accept just any X [verses]. You'll see. This is the real deal. I'm not gonna do it if it's not the real deal."
Swizz always has his outside work as well. Besides appearing on the remix of Mary J. Blige's "Just Fine" with Lil Wayne (which features the "Dr. Carter" verse that Wayne exclusively rapped a cappella for Mixtape Monday Video), he's worked on Weezy's Tha Carter III LP; 50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct; the G-Unit's Lock and Load group album; Fat Joe's The Elephant in the Room; and is getting ready to go in with N.E.R.D., Macy Gray ("I just politicked with her. She wants me to set the tone for her album") and Usher.
"I'm still finding out what vibes they wanna mess with," Swizz says about Usher's LP. "It's very tricky and confusing. So many people come in. The artist's gotta be in that right frame of mind."
Swizz the rapper is still in full swing as well. He just leaked a record called "Hard Knocks" with Drag-On. It's the first offering from Beatz's upcoming follow-up to One Man Band Man.
"Everybody is expecting 'It's Me Bitches' or 'Money in the Bank,' " he said. "I just want to use my opportunity to get a little more serious in the artist department, as a performer and lyricist. Not giving a f--- about radio and all that. I just want to give hip-hop something that's not on the radio. A lot of the songs I got can blend in on the radio, but 'School of Hard Knocks' don't blend in with nothing on the radio. I'm already in full mode. What they want me to do? Let's get it. I'm busting shots early — bong, bong!
"The title is between Life After the Party and Remember Hip-Hop," he continued. "I'm in between them. I don't even have a date on my joint. I'm just feeling out the scene."
Also still up in the air whether Swizz will release his project on Universal Records again.