The Beautiful Dark Twisted Tragedy of DMX
Earl Simmons channelled his pain into his art — and forever changed the world along the way
The largest angels rarely live the longest. For centuries, intellects and clergymen from the Eastern Hemisphere have spoken on existence being dictated by purpose. It’s been said throughout a myriad of cultures that once a person has completed his or her education, as student and teacher, their time in human form expires. Wherever your spiritual philosophies lie, Earl “Dark Man X” Simmons being a gift not only to music, but, more importantly, to the society of music lovers should be universal comprehension. Yes, the present was DMX’s presence. Moreover, the gift was a sum of his God-given gifts. Aside from the Dog’s rare ability to go rhyme-for-rhyme with Jay-Z or single-handedly alchemize a flawed film into a hip-hop classic, his greatest contribution was deliverance.
X was a pastor in every sense; a vessel entrusted with a single celestial word that only his tongue could deliver. A gravel-voiced teacher and documentarian, he showed us the real — our beauty, our ugly, our faith. He warned: Never lose sight of your demons if you intend to escape their web. He articulated the best because he showed more than he told. Yet, he never allowed vanity to sully the mission. He has slipped and fallen in front of us. He showed us that it was easier for him to uplift the world than himself. Imagine the Greek titan Atlas in a wheelchair.
DMX injected totality and spirituality into a hip-hop scene that at the time was as inebriated as it was distracted. This was the back end of the 1990s. The first half saw reality rap raise hip-hop music’s bar via cinematic rhymes. Nas and Biggie and Prodigy and Raekwon lead the Big Apple-powered renaissance, giving listeners HD views of the cold benches of Queensbridge Housing projects, bubbling prayers inside of Pyrex Vision pots, hustler’s regrets, and suicidal thoughts, MPVs that were fat. By the decade’s midpoint, successful rap artists wanted an escape from the struggle. Hip-hop was growing along with the bank accounts of its stars. Sean Combs wanted to change the narrative, which was…