Before I was brave enough to share pieces of myself with the world, DMX gave me the blueprint. I’m a better writer because of him. However, on April 9, 2021, I learned I will never get the chance to tell him.
DMX’s music and life touched fans across the globe. We were reminded of his impact when he performed on Verzuz with Snoop Dogg. He was a massive figure in hip-hop and his legacy will never be forgotten. But his death hits a little different for me, a writer from his Yonkers, New York hometown. Like him, my fingers regularly confess to a keyboard.
Growing up DMX (born Earl Simmons) was just another older dude from the block who could rap. Every hood has them. It wasn’t noteworthy to see him walking his pitbull in Yonkers. His career never felt like a big deal until the first time I heard his song play in a club. “Get At Me Dog” would play and folks would loose their mind—me included.
Until this day you can find his songs on my playlists. Are you really even burning calories if “Who We Be” isn’t on your workout playlist? When I breakup with a guy, I’m not the play Beyoncé and cry type of woman. I need “We Don’t Give a F—” on repeat.
But my writing playlist is where I find my deepest inspiration from DMX.
Between his song “Slippin’” and the prayers on his albums, DMX is a constant reminder that vulnerability does not negate strength—it enhances it. He never hid his struggle with addiction or the visible pain from his childhood trauma. Showing the world your scars is revealing an injury that has already healed. It’s covered and less susceptible to be harmed by public scrutiny, but it still tells the world about battles you fought. DMX masterfully did this and it’s the reason he was beloved.
It’s also the reason he went from the dude from the block to one of my writing inspirations. He showed me there’s power when we show our scars and open wounds in art. As long as I continue to do that, then he will live forever in my words.