DMX left Def Jam in 2006, with the help of JAY-Z
In 2006, DMX‘s $12 million debt would be wiped away by JAY-Z. “X was in debt over there. He probably owed about $12 million,” Dee noted. “Me and Hov got together, and I went up to the office and I asked him, ‘Can you do me a favor and let us sign X to Sony.’ He released him, he wiped out the debt clean and let him go. He didn’t have to pay nothing back.”
X walked away believing his won and that he remained better than JAY-Z after the debt was cleared, but didn’t know the lengths Dee went to, in order for him to be released from the label.
The Columbia Records-owned Sony Music would be X’s next home. He would only release one album on the label, Year of the Dog…Again.
When JAY-Z became President of Def Jam in 2004, DMX had a rough time seeing Jay as a superior. DMX felt that he was better than HOV, so this situation didn’t go well, as Co-Founder of Ruff Ryders Darin “Dee” Dean explains it.
“We called it a draw because they both was nice, so we said, ‘Alright this is a draw.’ X felt like he won, Hov gonna feel like he won,” Dee explained. “There was an animosity there always. It was nothing verbal, but it was just in [DMX’s] mind like, ‘I won, I’m better than you.’”