DMX’s public image usually illustrates a predictable picture. The Yonkers native appears as either a crazy rapper on drugs or a straight hilarious rapper…on drugs. What’s forgotten is his struggles and triumphs still shape him as a more complex figure. Then again we’re not here to say “Aww, the media always picks on poor old X.” His traumatic childhood goes a long way towards explaining his character. He still has to own up to issues he’s inflicted on himself and others under everyone’s watch.
However, DMX’s unscripted nature maintains his compelling personality. We laugh along with his candor or shake our heads at the holes in his logic and poor decisions. Nevertheless, he consistently brings fresh air to a climate filled with artists’ canned responses and eagerness to sidestep egg shells. Prepare to see him from all sides through his words.
On his estranged relationship with his abusive mother
“I just wanted to be able to say, ‘Hi mummy, I love you.’ Not once has she ever told me she loved me…I think a lot of people lose sight of the fact that no matter how strong you are as a man, no matter how tough you are, we all need to be somebody’s baby.”
The infamous “Obama” interview
XXL: Are you following the presidential race?
DMX: Not at all.
XXL: You’re not? You know there’s a Black guy running, Barack Obama and then there’s Hillary Clinton.
DMX: His name is Barack?!
XXL: Barack Obama, yeah.
DMX: What the fuck is a Barack?! Barack Obama. Where he from, Africa?
XXL: Yeah, his dad is from Kenya.
DMX: Barack Obama?
DMX: What the fuck?! That ain’t no fuckin’ name, yo. That ain’t that nigga’s name. You can’t be serious. Barack Obama. Get the fuck outta here.
XXL: You’re telling me you haven’t heard about him before.
DMX: I ain’t really paying much attention.
XXL: I mean, it’s pretty big if a Black…
DMX: Wow, Barack! The nigga’s name is Barack. Barack? Nigga named Barack Obama. What the fuck, man?! Is he serious? That ain’t his fuckin’ name. Ima tell this nigga when I see him, “Stop that bullshit. Stop that bullshit” [laughs] “That ain’t your fuckin’ name.” Your momma ain’t name you no damn Barack.
XXL: So you’re not following the race. You can’t vote right?
XXL: Is that why you’re not following it?
DMX: No, because it’s just—it doesn’t matter. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. It doesn’t really make a difference. These are the last years.
XXL: But it would be pretty big if we had a first Black president. That would be huge.
DMX: I mean, I guess…. What, they gon’ give a dog a bone? There you go. Ooh, we have a Black president now. They should’ve done that shit a long time ago, we wouldn’t be in the fuckin’ position we in now. With world war coming up right now. They done fucked this shit up then give it to the Black people, “Here you take it. Take my mess.”
XXL: Right, exactly.
DMX: It’s all a fuckin’ setup. It’s all a setup. All fuckin’ bullshit. All bullshit. I don’t give a fuck about none of that.
On Rap’s Struggle To Move Units
XXL:“Right, but do you think there’s a reason that rap isn’t selling like it was in your day?
DMX: Yeah ’cause niggas ain’t saying nothing. People ain’t saying nothing. Ain’t but so many people… Some people buy records just to dance to ’em. Some people buy records to listen to the radio. And there’s people that buy records ’cause they listen to every song. They not feeding the people properly.
XXL:You mean the artists?
DMX: Yeah, the artists. It’s the same ole bullshit. That’s how it get. There has to be some fuckin’ substance.
On Rappers Lacking Creativity In 2012 – NY’s Power 105.1. (2:11)
“Nowadays, there’s so many variations of rap, call it what it is man. If it ain’t rap, don’t call yourself a rapper. Just because you’re black and you wear jewelery, that doesn’t make you a rapper. A lot of people is cheatin’ you know what I’m saying? But I’m bringing what I’ve always brought which is integrity to rap. I’m able to say something without compromising and without talking about bitches every song and how much jewelry. All that’s really irrelevant.”
On Drake’s Aaliyah album lacking any input from Timbaland and Missy Elliot (8:11)
DMX: It’s disrespectful. That don’t even make sense. That’s what I’m saying. You can’t do shit like that. I wish it was maybe seven years ago or maybe ten years ago, catch a nigga in an elevator, beat him up…and just let him know it’s real son! You can’t just walk around doing, you know…
Charlemagne The God: You can still do that. It’s just going to end up on WorldStar.
X: Right, you can! Yeah…
Angela Yee: You cannot, you are not going to catch Drake in no elevator by himself anyway…
DMX: He don’t got to be by himself. That’s not a problem…We wolfed out in this joint, son!”
On Obama…again (10:53)
DJ Envy: Let’s talk politics for a second Barack-
DMX: OBAMA NIGGA!
DJ Envy: That’s it?
DMX: That’s it!
DJ Envy: Why Barack Obama
DMX: ‘Cause he black!
Angela Yee: Wait, can you vote? Are you eligible?
DMX: No I can’t. I got 12 fuckin’ convictions.
On Ja Rule’s Sexuality (06:15)
“You know he be fuckin’ niggas, right? I got the inside information, man! Some nigga that was styling his clothes…got him ecstasy-ed out and fucked him. Yeah Ja Rule was fuckin’ niggas I’m telling you dog, ON MY MAMMA! ON MY MAMMA! The nigga told me that himself! He was like ‘I roll with Ja Rule, he was all ecstasy-ed up so he fucked me!’ I was like, ‘WOAH!’ Yeah man, they were walking around with a bag of those pills man. Talking about me? You can’t be serious nigga! THE X IS EVERYTHING! Get it? The X is everything. Ha, I kill me!”
“People believe you only catch the Holy Ghost in church…No, I get it onstage.”
“I don’t like talking to people-sober. Sober is Earl: answer the question, two words type of shit. Drunk is X. Yo! What up! Have a good time! You wanna talk to X. You don’t want to talk to Earl.”
Tupac through DMX’s eyes
“I think Tupac was a strong minded black man…And what America fears is a strong minded black man.”
X’s relationship with his late grandmother
“(She told me) the Lord may not come when you want him, but he’s always on time…I was her baby…I was nobody else’s baby in the whole world, but I was hers. And I never felt that feeling before or after.”
Vibe – Oct. ’98
On His Legacy (1:30)
“For one, my legacy doesn’t stop. My legacy doesn’t stop. I could die right now and my legacy would not stop. And what does it stand for, you can’t say it stood for just one thing because it means so much to so many different people. It will always be, what you need it to be, where you need it to be at.
DMX explains how he presents his music to his children (5:03)
Fox: Do you have kids?
DMX: Yes, I have eight kids
Fox: How old are they?
DMX: The oldest one is 16. The youngest one is three months.
Fox: How do you feel about them listening to some of the things that you’ve written?
DMX: I encourage them to listen but I also encourage them to not, they know not what to say. You can’t hide something from a child because that only gets them more curious about it. What you do is you say this is what it is and this ain’t for you.
Fox: Do you think it’s a negative message?
DMX: No, it’s a real message. And real, is sometimes negative as well as positive but it’s real and it needs to be, it needs to be real. You can’t hide things because they’re going to find out and if they find out they’re going to think, “Oh, this must be real. My father hid it from me all the time…” No, I’m going to tell you what it is and tell you, “You touch it I’ll break your arm.” Or, if you get curious come talk to me about it because I’ve already been through it. I haven’t been through what I’ve been through for nothing. I’ve been through what I’ve been through to stop you from-to tell you about it so that way you won’t have to experiment to know what it’s about.
On helping fellow inmates who won’t have access to opportunities like X after they leave. (9:00)
I give them positive lights. I try to get them to look into themselves and see what they’re good at because we all have a talent. I try to get them to look into themselves and I try to tell them you don’t have to do that. There’s no such thing as an old drug dealer. There’s no old players. There’s no old gangsters. I give them something to think about.
There’s so many other things you can do but, you know, people are going to do what they want to do. I’m not their father so I just tell them the best thing I can tell them at that particular time and hope they get into it but I always tell them that Jesus loves them.
Part 2 Of The Prison Interview In Which X Explains His Lyrics – Fox (3:55)
“You know what it is? I can tell you where I’m coming from without you even going into it. What it is is, it’s slick talk, it’s not something to be taken literally. Evidently, if I was doing that, I wouldn’t be rapping. I’d walk around, I’d have a bullet proof vest and I’d have guns, I’d have gun charges.
So it’s not something to be taken literally. It’s like, you know when you get people that talk about songs and they talk about “Oh, your love makes me feel like I want to jump off a cliff,” they don’t mean it literally. It’s wordplay, poetry…it’s poetry and it’s wordplay.
…My message is at the end of it. You have to say certain things to gain credibility, to gain the attention of your listeners. But, at the end of it, is what matters, what it boils down to. What it always boils down to is a gospel song and a prayer. Every album, I end it with a gospel song and a prayer.”
On His Seclusion From The Public Eye (1:15)
DJ Envy: You took a little bit off, two, three years off.
DMX: Yeah, it’s called prison.
DJ Envy: Besides, prison, why’d you take the time off?
DMX:…Prison, yeah that was the reason.
His Heart-to-Heart With His Son (2:10)
“I know I’m not the best father, but I tried. I really, truly tried…Half of you is me, man. I love the whole you. I love the whole you. And I’m never going to stop loving you. That’s more important, than any addiction, than any (expletive.) That’s more important.”
Then things go sour after Xavier states he won’t have a relationship with DMX if he’s not sober. (1:36)
DMX: If there’s going to be a condition, if there’s going to be a demand when all I’ve given you is unconditional love, I’m not going to allow that.
Xavier: Because either way I’m fine. I’ve made peace with it.
DMX: Yup, cool if that’s how you feel then I’m going to respect that. That’s how you feel, I’m going to respect that but that’s some bullshit. I love you, I love you more than anyone. I love who I am. I’m not going to change for anyone.
Xavier: I’m not trying to be disrespectful I’m just trying to talk to you as a man, man-to-man.
DMX: You tell me, “I won’t have a relationship with you unless I…” when I’ve been a great father to you. I smoked weed before you was born! I drank before you was born! I did a lot of shit before you was born. Love, totally unconditional. I would never put a condition on our love or our relationship, never, ever. Unless you can’t get to that place, we won’t have a relationship.
As sad as, you know, my son doesn’t want nothing from me when I have so much to offer, I guess. I still love you.
Xavier: I love you too.
DMX: But that’s not going to fly. That’s not going to fly (repeats.)
Xavier: That’s ok.
DMX: Well, I guess you’ll see me at my funeral then.
Xavier: (Sobs) To your funeral?
DMX: (Expletive) If you’re going to put a condition on our relationship well then I guess that’s when you’ll see me!
Iyanla: No, you don’t have to.
DMX: What do you mean, no?
Iyanla: You do not get to speak to me ever again! Ever!
DMX: Fuck you, I just did!