DMX: Not a “Studio Rapper”

Photo by: Jabari Asante @barixsafarivisuals

When you are a kid, you may not understand the full context of the songs you choose to listen to. You may not even know why you gravitated towards certain beats, tones, or lyrics. But later on, when we start to experience the ups and downs, the energy and honesty of certain songs stick with us. For many of DMX’s loyal fans, his music spoke to the realities of life, both the good and the bad, and had an energy that was “electrifying”. At his funeral on April 24th, 2021, DMX was described as “raw”, “authentic”, and “original.”

The beautiful thing about using honesty to judge an artist, is how the virtue sustains the test of time. Also, and perhaps for the same reason, it stands alone without the influence of money and power (to a degree of course). No matter the genre, an artist backed by money alone, will overtime fade. You will hear one of the supporters express how he can’t relate to today’s rappers because they are, “studio rappers…they never live what they rap about.” DMX’s level of street credibility was known throughout the rap industry. His struggles were real and known. His lyrics, for the same reason, were described by many as, “authentic”.

And certainly, discovering honesty in art isn’t just a Hip-Hop problem. There are country music stars who never actually lived in the country and I’m sure the list goes on. But at a time when we are seeking honesty in social media, law enforcement, and honesty with our “true colors” as a country, we could also expect/demand a sense of honesty from popular artist, actors, (dare I say politicians, but that should come with the territory). But have we got a solid dose of raw energy and honesty from the most popular among us during these tumultuous times? I’ll let you be the judge.

If you couldn’t make it to DMX’s funeral, no worries, I hope you enjoy these heartfelt feelings from his supporters. Secondly, try to think what other artist out there today, would receive similar respect and accolades for their art. If you start to draw a blank, then I’d say we have a lot of work ahead to support honest artist.


John Money

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