“I come to you hungry and tired
you give food and let me sleep
I come to you weak
you give strength and that’s deep
you called me a sheep
and lead me to green pastures
only asking that I keep the focus
between the chapters
You give me the word and only acts I interpret
And give me the eyes so I can recognize the serpent
You know I ain’t perfect, but you’ll like me to try
And just like the devil who wants me to lie
Till I die
Lord why is it that, that I go through so much pain
All I saw was black and all I felt was rain
I come to you because it’s you that knows
To show me that everything is black
Because me eyes were closed
You give me the light and let me bask in your glory
So it was only right that when you ask for this story
I put together to do all dogs some good
All dogs being all the brothers and sisters in the hood
Plenty of times you sent help my way but I hid
I remember once you held me close but I slid
There was something that I just had to see
That you wanted me to see so I can be what you wanted me to be
And I think I am seeing it but I don’t feel the same
Matter of fact I know I have seen it I can feel the change
And it’s strange almost got me beating down your door
But I have never known love like this before
It’s a wonderful feeling to get away from the pain
And up under the ceiling I get away from the rain
And the strain that I feel when I’m here is gone
I know real so I wipe away the tears son
And I almost lost faith in you when you took my man Monty
Pass over chase a brother down
And I fear that what I saying won’t be heard until I’m gone
But it’s all good, Cause I didn’t expect to live long
So if it takes for me to suffer for me brother to see the light
Give me pain till I die but please lord treat him right”
In hindsight, the fervent, raw-nerve exposing, soul-baring nature of DMX’s Prayer makes perfect sense. Though many of us were aware of his horrible upbringing that was marked by suffocating poverty, violence, crime, and stints in jail and reform school, none of us knew that drug addiction was the match that ignited his explosive emotional outbursts. More recent revelations about his past give some clarity as to the causes of the palpable desperation in his voice as he pleaded for help from above on the “Prayer” from his first album.
Like most men who are adrift and seeking guidance, X runs the emotional gamut throughout his appeal. He will do almost anything for the help he so desperately needs. In the opening lines he acknowledges God’s positive influence in his life. Next he acknowledges his own shortcomings, and the forces of evil that constantly move against him, and preying on his weaknesses at every moment.
He laments the darkness that seemingly envelopes him. He reveals anger and skepticism because he’s been burned so many times. But he also asks again that his God reveal to him the truth, and not for the fleeting moments he’s experienced in the past. He wants to stay there. He wants to step out from the shadows and warm his battered soul with light.
There is nothing but X’s voice, because at this moment he has stripped everything away except for the raw, real, emotion of a man who’s young life had been poisoned by the people who should have been protecting him, and his own efforts to destroy himself. At this moment he is just a man asking his God for answer, and wondering if his query has fallen on deaf ears.
This is Earl Simmons. For better or worse.
DMX – “The Prayer” (Skit)
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