I really wish I had been prompted to write this during the summer.
Right after DMX “battled” Snoop Dogg.
But I wasn’t.
So I’m here now. And I wish I was writing under more ideal circumstances but I’m not.
As I type, the man born as Earl Simmons is laying in a hospital in New York, on a ventilator. Every time I think about it, tears start to build in my eyes. As I fight them off, I say a prayer. A prayer filled with the belief that God can once again save the life of a man who through his many public battles has always testified about his relationship with him.
Everybody that I know who is familiar with DMX in some form or fashion wants him to pull through. It’s as if collectively we’ve watched him battle for so long that we don’t want the fight to take him way from here. Then I think about it. We literally have watched him fight since the day he burst onto the scene with a voice that’s as distinctive as Morgan Freeman.
I was ecstatic in July when it was announced that DMX would go head to head with Snoop Dogg on Verzuz. 20 hits back to back. A celebration of hip hop’s biggest “dogs.”
Then I started seeing foolery on my timelines. I started seeing folks making statements saying DMX didn’t stand a chance against Snoop. Say what now?
DMX, DMX? Dark Man X? Earl Simmons?
Surely, you aren’t trying to tell me that the man who has sold 74 million albums worldwide doesn’t stand a chance.
Surely you aren’t trying to tell me the man that gave us “Ruff Ryders Anthem” doesn’t stand a chance.
Surely you aren’t trying to tell me the man who is the only artist in history to ever release five consecutive albums that debuted at number one doesn’t stand a chance.
Surely you aren’t.
I was appalled.
It was as if people had forgotten all the contributions he had made to the culture.
And not just as an artist.
But as a man.
As a man who has been transparent about his struggles with drugs. As a man who has been transparent about his childhood. As a man who has been transparent about his love for God and his relationship with him. As a man that has given back to his community.
You have to know that when you are speaking about artists that has at least 20 certified bangers, he’s one of them.
Put some respect on his name.
So when I heard the news on Saturday, I cried.
Cause DMX feels like family.
His music is interwoven into so many of my high school, college and adult memories.
There’s seeing him perform at the Greensboro Coliseum on Halloween. There’s making a poster for the senior boy’s basketball players and cheerleaders that said “Ruff Ryders and Ruff Ryder Cheerleaders.” There’s skipping school to purchase his cd. There’s Senior Beach Week 1999 where all you heard blasting from the stereo of almost every car you passed was DMX or a member of the Ruff Ryder family. There’s also getting a t-shirt made that same week that has my name and the Double R logo under it.
There’s my college classmates and I being surprised with a random concert by DMX, on a Tuesday afternoon I think. There’s the countless interviews where transparency and wisdom are on full display. There’s listening to his music over and over. There’s him surprising us fans at the Bad Boy Reunion concert in 2016. There’s introducing my younger cousins to his timeless hits. There’s maybe my favorite jewel of all – his rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
And then there’s Verzuz.
Not just of two of the best to ever pic up a mic. But a time to give flowers to whose deserving while they’re still alive to receive them.
DMX deserves ever bouquet he’s received.
Having heard his story, that’s littered with tragedy, before he’s always been a person I support through prayers and good vibes.
Just as I’m doing now.
I know what God is capable of doing. We’ve seen what God is capable of doing through him.
I want DMX to be ok.
I really do.
I want him to survive, to triumph then tell us all about what God did for him.
Cause if He did it before, He can do it again.
Same God right now.
Same God back then.