In the 30 years since hip-hop developed from basement jams and Bronx block parties, it has run the gamut from fame (and infamy) in the late '70s through the '90s, to a somewhat recent fall from grace and every stop in between.
But rap is not dead.
One has only to look at artists like DMX and the Beastie Boys - both of whom are dropping new albums this year -- to know that hip hop is alive and well and enjoying something of a rebirth.
The point is underscored by noting that the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year and that the 40-year-old X, who was recently released from an almost one-year stint in prison in Arizona, is releasing his seventh album.
This, said Jake Shapiro, COO of Big Jake Music, a Los Angeles-based indie record label that represents DMX, is a testament to the fact that hip hop may have started back in the '70s as a popular trend, but is still relevant today.
"Artists, like X, are hip-hop's most beloved and influential people," said Shapiro. "He embodies everything that is hip-hop - an amalgam of barking and rhyming in loud bursts of manic ... energy."
Born Earl Simmons in December 1970, DMX was signed by a subsidiary of Columbia Records at the age of 22 and has enjoyed almost two decades of honors and accolades, including multi-platinum-selling records, and being the only artist in Billboard history to reach number one with five consecutive albums.
Even with various legal woes and drug problems plaguing him over the last decade, his supporters are not about to count him out.
"We're thrilled to be working with DMX," said Shapiro."His fan base continues to support him, and he is still clearly able to produce good music. We believe that great things will come from our partnership."
With the help of his new record label Seven Arts Music, DMX has released the singles, "Already," and "I Don't Dance," featuring Machine Gun Kelly -- both of which have received much radio play, prior to the release of the actual album.