Who owns DMX’s masters?
It’s not evident who owns DMX’s masters, and there’s no evidence Jay-Z purchased the late rapper’s recordings. But Jay-Z clearly understands the importance of owning masters, having negotiated the return of his own master recording in 2004 when he became Def Jam’s president.
As Forbes reported in 2010, Jay-Z’s masters — worth an estimated $50 million at the time, at minimum — were scheduled to revert to him in 2014, the year after his publishing rights were scheduled to return to him. Forbes estimated that the masters and the publishing rights would earn him $5 million per year and that the value of his catalog could approach $100 million by 2015.
Did DMX and Jay-Z collaborate?
DMX and Jay-Z started teaming up on tracks in 1995, when producer Irv Gotti got them and rapper Ja Rule together on the 1995 Mic Geronimo track “Time to Build,” according to MTV News.
DMX, Jay-Z, and Ja Rule became known as the Murder Inc. — the same name as Gotti’s record label — and hit the cover of XXL magazine together in 1999.
The supergroup recorded two songs together, “Murdergram” and “It’s Murda,” but never released an album, and both Irv and Ja Rule have said the trio dissolved because of tension between Jay and DMX.
Were DMX and Jay-Z friends?
According to Irv, DMX resented Jay over their 1994 rap battle in a Bronx pool hall. “X hated Jay because it was the one battle that he said it wasn’t absolutely sure in everyone’s mind that he won,” Irv told MTV News in 2011.
Ja Rule discussed Murder Inc. in 2014, telling MTV News, “We couldn’t get X and Jay in the same room, from long ago, their storied battle on the pool table, guns out [and] all of that. … We tried to deliver that album. It was a situation where egos all just played a part in its demise.”
But from what DMX told host Sway Calloway in a 2012 interview on MTV’s RapFix, it sounds like his beef with the “Empire State of Mind” rapper was more of a rivalry.
“Me and Jay had the battle issues,” X said at the time. “When you’re playing another [sports] team, you’re not going to like them. That doesn’t mean that you want them dead or you mean any physical harm to them."
He continued, "I didn’t like him because we battled, and that’s what it was. I didn’t mean him any harm. I didn’t know him enough to not really like him. … And you know, it’s by going through that, that when we finally came around to being cordial, came around to being cool, that we earned each other’s friendship.”
When Calloway asked DMX about his current relationship with Jay, the rapper contemplated the question for nearly 10 seconds. “I don’t have a problem with him,” he said, finally. “We ain’t high-fiving in the locker room, chest-bumping and all of that. We don’t have none of that going.”