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DMX Passes Away At 50, We Lost A True Icon Of Hip Hop


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I know over the years there's been a lot of talk about DMX's addiction struggles and it caused many of his so called fans to abandon him until yesterday when he passed away where a lot of the fans want to jump on the bandwagon and play his music for the first time in 20 years it seems but he's one of my favorite of all time, I basically felt everything this man ever dropped, he's been a true man of God and the messages he delivered have been theraputic for me and my ups and downs in life, I haven't struggled with addiction but I've been dealing with the mental health aspect for over a decade I'm bold enough to admit, I reach out for help and the struggle is real. For me as a true hip hop head I've been listening to him since the start of his career when he appeared on LL Cool J's "4, 3, 2, 1" when I was 12 years old in the 7th grade and when he released his "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" CD in Spring of 1998 after I turned 13 years old it was one of the first hip hop CD I ever owned, it's a top 5 hip hop debut album to me dead or alive that you could bump from start to finish, the popular songs like "Ruff Ryders Anthem", "How's It Going Down" and "Get At Me Dog" are most memorable to fans but "Let Me Fly" and "I Can Feel It" really penetrate my soul. After that masterpiece classic debut album he dropped many more great masterpieces but the album that sticks out to me the most was "The Great Depression" in October of 2001 it was released around the time of Aaliyah's death and 9*11*2001 so it was prophetic in a poetic sense my favorite song from that record will always be "I Miss You" because my grandmother Claire was getting sick with cancer around the time of the album release and she passed away on December 16, 2001 and the video for the song was released I forever am grateful that he released that video and song as a single to me it's as real as Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and James Brown "Papa Don't Take No Mess", real music from the spirit, that encouraged me to take writing my own music more serious than just a fun hobby I did at school with my friends, I dedicate my career in music to my late grandmother and now the late DMX and other true artists. Now on deeper in his career in the summer of 2006 DMX released his first non Def Jam album "Year Of The Dog Again..." after 5 straight #1 albums (even pop artists like Britney Spears didn't do that, very impressive from a gritty hip hop artist from the street life to me he's the Malcolm X of hip hop, a conflicted individual with spiritual insight), even though it fell short of going #1 on the charts by a small margin to a Now compilation album it's near the top of my all time favorite hip hop albums since 2000 especially for the song "Lord Give Me A Sign" and the deep album cuts "Life Be My Song" and "Goodbye", it had a deeper meaning for me because the winter of 2006/2007 was when I was going in and out of the hospital getting mental health treatment for the first time in my life that music got me through and pushed me to keep going and I was motivated to keep emceeing, I had a bad reaction from a staph infection, and on top of that I was heartbroken from the losses of 2 musical icons in Gerald Levert and James Brown and the relationship with somebody that I thought I was gonna marry one day(we're friends today but we can't be nothing more than that because you can forgive but you can't truely forget)went sour since she judged me for my mental health struggles like many do because of the stigma but I realised who my real circle of close peeps were after that moment in my life. Now 5 years later in 2012 X dropped his comeback album in that fall called undisputed, I was praying for a big comeback even though it was an independent release I felt he was the real hip hop artist that could revive commercial hip hop again from the fake rappers like Cash Money and Rick Ross among countless others but the album was a commercial flop his lowest selling album but the album hit hard the single "I Don't Dance" featuring Machine Gun Kelly to me felt like it would be the 2012 summer smash cause it felt like a hard hitting anthem but it felt sad that most his fans basically abandoned him like so many of the great hip hop artists(obviously my man KRS One has dropped at least 15 albums in the last 20 years none went gold which proves hip hop truely is dead cause this man is the epitome of real hip hop besides the handful like DMX who join the realest like Pac, Jam Master Jay, Aaliyah, Left Eye, and Heavy D in hip hop heaven now) we don't celebrate the great hip hop artists while they're alive the GOAT LL Cool J has been waiting damn near 15 years for the Rock and Roll hall of fame, no offense to Biggie and Jay Z but they damn well ain't near his level. Anyway enough with my rant but to me the heart of "Undisputed" that touched my soul was the deep album cuts "The Prayer", "Slippin Again", and "Head Up" after I was hospitalized again that summer of 2012 for my mental health because I was heartbroken over my father's oncoming Alzheimers and dementia issues that forced my family to put him in a nursing home after new years of 2012, those songs really got me through and helped me write my most motivated song to date "I Never Give Up" and if I ever win a Grammy one day I'm thanking DMX for changing my life so many times, I salute you Ruff Ryder OG, REST IN PEACE, 1970-2021 FOREVER, GOD BLESS, ONE LOVE FROM BIG TED....

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Jazzy Jeff is doing a trib to DMX on IG and Youtube right now

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The first time I heard DMX was LL Cool J's "4, 3, 2, 1". His presence on that song made an impression on me. I liked "Get At Me Dog", but I bought It's Dark and Hell Is Hot because I wanted that Survival of the Illest version of the album with the bonus CD, which featured LL's "The Ripper Strikes Back". When I listened to the album, I loved it. Hardcore Hip-Hop was not my go-to, so I'm quick to roll my eyes at it, but DMX was authentic and you could hear that on the first listen, which made him appreciate him as much as any classic artist that I liked. Of course, as I listed to the album more, you could see that there were more layers to him than the aggressive street emcee that you could conveniently label him has. DMX wasn't just doing street rap, he had crazy appreciation for classic Hip-Hop and R&B music, and elements of that were in his music and discussed in detail in his interviews.  I have every album of his, though as time went one, I felt there were production missteps that didn't give his subject matter and lyrics a background that they deserved on some songs. 

It's crazy to think that this was just a man from a broken background who made one of a kind music, hit the top of the charts time and time again, ended up doing some big movies, then just operated how he wanted to after his commercial peak. 

I always wanted to see him fully bounce back, but it's hard to imagine any artist from the 80's, 90's, or 2000's having true success in Hip-Hop any more due to how the industry is. I'm excited to hear what music he was creating under Def Jam. I imagine he had access to more while back under the label.  He talked proudly of the work and said he wanted to do just two more songs back in February.  The album has been confirmed that it'll come out. I imagine they'll fast track it due to his transitioning. 

I think the industry really let him down. If you think about it, he connected with a lot of artists, who say they liked him. He did countless features, but it seems like those artists only appreciated him at the time. He seemed to be a little bit an industry loner. The film industry seemed to leave him alone once the #1 albums stopped coming.

I think DMX is a misunderstood artist.  Even as someone who followed him, I feel I misunderstood him. Even before his passing, I've been revisiting his old work and finding new things to discover.  I got a bootleg DVD with over two hours of music videos of his about a month ago and got to see him in a new light, having never seen some of these videos before, even though they came out at a time when BET and MTV were airing music videos a lot. 

DMX was never about the lights and the fame. He was never Hollywood. He approached every song, every performance, every interview/appearance in a raw, unprepared way. There was no filter. 

The struggles he came from and wrestled with are pretty heartbreaking, and more of that has been coming out recently. I remember being frustrated with his backsliding over the years, only to grow up a little and realize my own ignorant prejudice to his vices.  I hope this new album and any other existing music that could end up being part of his legacy is handled well.  I believe this man deserves more than he was ever given. I hope this loss changes things for the better in Hip-Hop and that a new found respect for what he's done is found.


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  • 2 weeks later...

looking forward to that album aj, definately dmx and shock g are like the biggest losses in music to me besides heavy d and prince in the last 10 years and of course mj if you count 12 years ago...

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