Thursday, May 6, 2021

DMX, a deep vessel for pain

From the release of his debut film Dame Jam, “Get Me Me,” in 1998, DMX was an immediate Titanic presence in hip-hop. The way the genre was moving towards polish, he preferred iron and concrete – rapping with a muscular girdle that conveyed a fascinating kind of mayhem. Stackatto bursts on “Rough Riders Anthem” – an early Swizz Beatz masterpiece – matches Melancholy’s DMX’s jab: “All I know is pain / I think it’s rain.”

His voice was incredibly coarse, and in his peak era, between 1998 and 2003, he used it for one chest-filled anthem after another: “Party up (here),” “What’s My Name” ? ” , “” X Gone ‘Give it to Ya, “” Hood at et? “Often, he raps as if he is trying to win an argument, with repetitive emphasis and repeating a phrase designed for maximum effect. Even when he is in love Was submerged, like “What in Bits Want”, so he didn’t change his perspective.

But when he picked up his own troubled past on “Slippin ‘,” he angrily bit himself, as if showing himself his grace:

They put me in a position to force me to be a man
Damn when I was just learning to stand without help
Was it my fault i did something
A father to leave his first child? My first bid on 7

Even though DMX’s timing at the top of the genre was relatively brief, in just a few brutal years, it was never erased from their collective memory. This is partly because the tumor of his personal life has made him into the headlines – he has been arrested dozens of times for charges including drug possession, aggravated assault, driving without a license, and tax evasion. He rescued stray dogs, and paid a tribute to Boomer, one of all his dogs, on his entire back, but also pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

But he remained a subject of sympathy: DMX was a wild man, and also a broken man. As a child physically abused his mother, he spent significant time in group homes. He was a youth in crime, who specializes in robbery. Many of the stories included in his 2002 book, “EARL: The Autobiography of DMX”, are fact and annoying.

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