The Dog, DarkMan, X, Earl; callhim what you will, but DMX’s latest album, “And Then There WasX” is a disappointment. Although not terrible, this release failsto live up to the heralded rapper’s standards.

“And ThenThere Was X” is actually an entertaining album with its share ofbright spots, but it is by far the worst of his three. It almost seemsDMX is trying a few experimental techniques; he has implemented avariety of R&B beats combined with an uncharacteristically slowstyle that simply does not work well. Although his innovative approachis commendable, DMX fans have certain expectations of hard-hitting,fast-paced beats accompanied by intense, fragmented vocals. In thisrespect, “And Then There Was X” fails to deliver.

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Thereare, however, several highlights on X’s new CD. The lyrics on trackssuch as “More 2 A Song” and “Fame” deliver messagesagainst the commercialized approach many rappers have taken. Severalguest appearances also enhance the album. The Lox and Drag-On join DMXhimself on “D-X-L,” which makes for quite possibly the besttrack on the new release. Even a guest appearance by Sisqo of R Dru Hill is effective.

Overall, “And ThenThere Was X” is a good album. It is not traditional DMX, however,and is therefore a bit disappointing. This is clearly his weakest todate, but is still worth buying for a true DMX fan.