Since the earliest moments I can recollect, I’ve been a fan of an array of music genres. I enjoy pop, country, soul, and rock. Even with my ears being so tuned to those sounds, rap music always received the majority of my attention. As an older millennial, there wasn’t a rapper that captured our collective consciousness during adolescence than DMX.
Dark Man X’s presence on screen and through audio was partially intimidating, yet comforting. The rapper, legally known as Earl Simmons, was a whirlwind of emotion and trauma that magically validated many of my feelings as a teenager. His debut album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, was released when I was 14 years old, the age when I was the king of angst. Each track on that album, including the skits, spoke to me in so many ways. Whether it was thoughts of remorse, revenge, or reverence, I was glued to X’s every word (and barks).
No need for me to discuss DMX’s death, because his life provided us so much to celebrate. A man that dealt with substance abuse, trauma, and mental health illness since being a child, yet succeeded in several industries where few make it. I’ve been in awe of X’s perseverance through tragedy and his vulnerability concerning past trauma. His testimony, songs, poetry, and prayers have given me and countless others the courage to face our own demons. What X gave to us cannot be simply defined through his music, it was through his ministry. A man of the people that openly shared his story and encouraged others to not only forgive loved ones, but forgive themselves. That level of selflessness cannot be summarized through records sold or movie ticket sales.
I’m resolved in the assurance that X received his figurative flowers during his life. He was an artist that was loved and appreciated throughout his career even through his personal struggles. He taught me to be vulnerable, especially when this world forces me to be stoic. He gave me the courage to face my own issues and showed me that I didn’t have to be defined by them. If DMX’s mission was to help change the life of at least one person in this world, then he succeeded beyond measure. He gave us so much. Hopefully, we’ll follow his example and give back to those who need it the most as well.
Verzuz and Peloton partnership
The Verzuz brand continues to make moves as they have partnered with fitness business Peloton. The partnership sees Verzuz battles being available to Peloton users as they power through workouts. Additionally, users can select which Verzuz artist team that they’re on and continue Verzuz’s spirit of competition.
What I’m Listening To
With the untimely demise of Earl Simmons, I’ve been going down memory lane and playing some of my favorite albums in his catalog and my favorite guest appearances he made on artists that I appreciate. This list is non-exhaustive, but here are a few tracks that I’ve been listening to: “Slippin’”, “Money, Cash, Hoes”, “How It’s Goin’ Down”, “Black Out”, and “Who We Be”. These songs don’t even scratch the surface of DMX’s musical talents, but they’re all attached to a particular memory from my youth. One of those days I’ll divulge how some of these songs relate to my past, but for now I’ll celebrate the legend of DMX.
DMX is included in a small circle of musical artists to have released two Billboard-certified number one albums in the same calendar year. Released in 1998, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood both reached number one status and were multi-platinum albums.
“I’ma shine regardless, my steps have already been ordained. My steps have already been written, the Lord has already written my steps out so no one can do anything to stop it.” - DMX