Ruff Ryders’ Anthem

Ruff Ryders’ Anthem


“Ruff Ryders' Anthem”, released as a B-side to “Slippin'”, was the fourth and final single from the album, and peaked at #93 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1998. After DMX’s death on April 9, 2021, the song re-entered the Hot 100 and reached a new peak of #16, the week ending April 15, 2021. VH1 ranked it #79 on their list of greatest hip hop songs.

Producer Swizz Beatz provided some background information on the track in an interview with Complex:

I made the ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’ beat in Atlanta. It was me just bugging out, having my New York influence and having my Atlanta influence. That track was the perfect blend which was awkward and different at the time because nobody had ever heard anything like that—including my clique.

DMX didn’t want to do it. He was like, ‘Man, that sounds like some rock ‘n’ roll track, I need some hip-hop shit. I’m not doing that. It’s not hood enough.’ I told him, ‘Yo, we can make it hood!’ […] Then he came in and did it and we were just hyping him up. The ‘What!’ ad-lib and all of that came about in the middle of us hyping him up. We left it in the track to add energy. Collectively, we came up with that vibe. It was his best shit at that time. Since then, X has trusted my judgment.

The background vocals and beat follow the rhythm of a military cadence. This reflects on the hook’s theme of being a cohesive unit.