Two years after the release of his 2006 album Year of the Dog… Again, DMX recorded an unreleased gospel album while living in Arizona.
Dark Man X lives on. In a new Rolling Stone profile on DMX, it was revealed that DMX had relocated to Arizona in 2001 to record his fourth album, The Great Depression. Extending his time in The Grand Canyon State for a decade, in 2008, the rapper made a gospel album called Walk With Me Now and You’ll Fly With Me Later which has yet to be released.
By 2008, X was past the height of his career, his personal life declining as he continued to struggle with drug addiction and faced a pending divorce with then-wife Tashera Simmons. Walk With Me Now and You’ll Fly With Me Later and settling in Arizona was X’s attempt at coping with ongoing stress, but he couldn’t withstand being targeted by brute Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Exclusively produced by Pat Gallo (Divine Bars) with backing vocals from local singer Janyce, the gospel effort was poised to be a double album. Disc I was planned to be fully rap-oriented, while Disc II would mix profanity with spiritual content. After the album’s release, DMX also planned to tour southern megachurches, to which he’d open his own church, House of the Afflicted, preaching to those struggling with homelessness and drug addiction.
Although a few tracks from Walk With Me Now were leaked, the megachurch tour was cancelled after a few dates and the album never saw the light of day. Rights to the album ultimately went to Seven Arts Entertainment, which released unauthorized DMX compilation Redemption of the Beast in 2015.
Canadian businessman Howard Mann won the rights to Seven Arts’ catalog in an auction, and he now oversees the remainder of DMX’s unreleased gospel tracks. Although Mann spoke with Rolling Stone about the possibility of recreating the gospel album with past DMX collaborators, DMX’s family lawyer Ron Sweeney has denied Mann’s efforts.
“Howard Mann has no authority that we’re aware of and hasn’t shown us anything to reflect that he owns any music that DMX recorded,” Sweeney said. “He has absolutely nothing to do with the estate and, to the extent that he has DMX’s music, the estate has not authorized the use of DMX’s name and likeness.”