These days, people have the luxury of infinite content, all accessible through a few button clicks and finger taps. In that sense, instant gratification has become something of a regularity, leaving the past all but unchecked, short of a few “nostalgic” cash-grabs. Yet there are those who value the ones who came before, and helped pave hip-hop into what it is today. Of course, such musings will undoubtedly arrive with the dreaded “old head” label. Still, the hip-hop genealogy remains a point of fascination for myself, and many of a like mind, who enjoy tracing the various roots and connections throughout the past decades.

On that note, throwback pictures have once again emerged (they originally surfaced last summer) from the Death Row era, detailing a potential signing that might have changed the course of 90s hip-hop as we know it. As told by Swizz Beatz and Ruff Ryders CEO Joaquin “Waah” Dean, back in 1996, Suge Knight and Dr. Dre were attempting to sign DMX to Death Row. The parties shared a few images from the meetings, which transpired on Suge’s home turf of Los Angeles. As it happens, the Ruff Ryders camp was not feeling the deal, though it appears there was no love lost between the two camps.

Now, this is not in itself breaking news, but it should prove interesting for newcomers nonetheless. Imagine a world where DMX actually signed to Death Row back in 1996. Would Dr. Dre have stayed on board? Would the Ruff Ryders have come to exist as we know it? It stands to reason that It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot and Flesh Of My Flesh would sound vastly different, likely reducing involvement from X’s in house production team. Consider this a “throwback Tuesday” of sorts, and reflect on what might have been.

It’s a shame X never had the chance on jumping on Dr. Dre production, though he did collaborate with Eminem and 50 Cent on separate occasions; hearing the Dark Man on one of Dre’s prime dark bangers would have been something to behold. Yet if such a path would come at the behest of two formative classics, and the entire Ruff Ryders movement, is that not too steep a price to pay?