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Lyrics: DMX – Ruff Ryders’ Anthem

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“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.

Something new

Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no, that’s how Ruff Ryders roll
Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no, that’s how Ruff Ryders roll

[Verse 1]
Niggas wanna try, niggas wanna lie
Then niggas wonder why niggas wanna die
All I know is pain, all I feel is rain
How can I maintain with that shit on my brain?
I resort to violence, my niggas move in silence
Like you don’t know what our style is, New York niggas the wildest
My niggas is with it, you want it? Come and get it
Took it then we split it, you fuckin’ right we did it
What the fuck you gon’ do when we run up on you?
Fuckin’ with the wrong crew, don’t know what we goin’ through
I’ma have to show niggas how easily we blow niggas
Lemme find out there’s some more niggas that’s runnin’ with your niggas
Nothin’ we can’t handle, break it up and dismantle
Light it up like a candle just ’cause I can’t stand you
Put my shit on tapes like you bustin’ grapes
Think you holdin’ weight then you haven’t met the apes

Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no, that’s how Ruff Ryders roll
Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no, that’s how Ruff Ryders roll

[Verse 2]
Is y’all niggas crazy? I’ll bust you and be Swayze
Stop actin’ like a baby, mind your business, lady
Nosy people get it too, when you see me spit at you
You know I’m tryin’ to get rid of you, yeah I know, it’s pitiful
That’s how niggas get down, watch my niggas spit rounds
Make y’all niggas kiss ground just for talkin’ shit, clown
Oh, you think it’s funny? Then you don’t know me, money
It’s about to get ugly, fuck it, dawg, I’m hungry
I guess you know what that mean, come up off that green
Rob niggas on Ravine, don’t make it a murder scene
Give a dog a bone, leave a dog alone
Let a dog roam and he’ll find his way home
Home of the brave, my home is a cage
And, yo, I’m a slave ’til my home is the grave
I’ma pull capers, it’s all about the papers
Bitches caught the vapors and now they wanna rape us

Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no, that’s how Ruff Ryders roll
Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop
Oh, no, that’s how Ruff Ryders roll
[Verse 3]
Look what you done started, asked for it, you got it
Had it, shoulda shot it, now you’re dearly departed
Get at me, dawg, did I rip shit? With this one here I flip shit
Niggas know when I kick shit it’s gon’ be some slick shit
What was that look for when I walked in the door?
Oh, you thought you was raw? Boom, not anymore
‘Cause now you on the floor wishin’ you never saw
Me walk through that door with that four-four
Now it’s time for bed, two more to the head
Got the floor red, yeah, that nigga’s dead
Another unsolved mystery, it’s goin’ down in history
Niggas ain’t never did shit to me, bitch-ass niggas can’t get to me
Gots to make a move, got a point to prove
Gotta make ’em groove, got ’em all like, “Ooh”
So ’til the next time you hear this nigga rhyme
Try to keep your mind on gettin’ pussy and crime

Stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop

Talk is cheap, motherfucker!

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