"Born Loser" (1993)
Written in a jail cell and self-released in a 500-copy run, DMX's "Born Loser" has none of the boasting style of future Ruff Ryders anthems, instead opting for a self-deprecating sadsack approach later perfected by Fatlip and Eminem. He raps: "They kicked me out the shelter because they said I smelt-a/Little like the living dead, and looked like Helter Skelter." Ruffhouse didn't think he was a total loser, because they picked it up and officially released it — though the single didn't exactly take off. "I felt that Ruffhouse didn't put enough marketing power behind it, so not enough people heard the song in the first place," X wrote in his autobiography. "Around the way in [Yonkers], I was my own hype, but I couldn't help get myself on the radio in Chicago or L.A… Within a few months of me having my own major-label single and a song on the radio, my professional recording career was over."