DMX 04/10/21

The Dark Souls podcast I listened to was recorded in 2013. At the start of it, the guys are chatting back and forth, and one of them says, “I guess they’re calling these things ‘podcasts?'”

Simpler times.

I thought I’d have more to say about that, but mostly I’ve been thinking about DMX. Privately, I was pulling for him to make it out of his coma, even going so far as to assure friends on the phone that the recent reports showed signs of life. Then he suffered organ failure, brain death, and that’s it.

I was genuinely upset about this one. I’m not someone who eulogizes celebrities often, but this one messed me up.

I remember being thirteen or so and watching Belly with my friend B and his mother. In retrospect, considering the state of his home at the time, I think his mom was struggling with addiction, but the three of us all watched the movie, and it was a memory that sticks with me when a lot of seemingly “more important” memories don’t. There’s a scene in the movie where the leads are talking to their drug connect, who is white. B expressed surprise at this character being white, and his mom got pissed off at him, made him apologize to me for “being racist.” It was extremely awkward. I remember this feeling of wanting to back up. I just wanted everything to be cool. I didn’t want them to be black and me to be white. But what can you do? Maybe the memories that stick with you are the uncomfortable ones, or the ones where you start to recognize that there are these divisions in the world and there’s nothing you can do about it. Belly will always make me think of that. I wonder how B and his mom are doing now.

I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with my dad growing up. He took me to soccer practice, but overall we had a distance between us. One memory I have is of going to watch Romeo Must Die with him. It was pretty cool (I dug the X-ray bone breaking), but it’s a largely forgettable movie. But I didn’t forget it. I remember the way the theater looked, I remember eating the popcorn. I remember that whole time with my dad, and how the movie felt so alien, grown up, like I was in the world.

There are all these little moments that you don’t expect will stick with you, but they do. I’d watch the “Party Up” video on TRL, listen to my dad’s copies of Flesh of My Flesh and Hell is Hot. One of my favorite songs back then was Limp Bizkit’s “Rollin'” posse cut with Method Man, Redman, and DMX. He’s in my past, in a lot of memories. Always kind of there.

His life story is tough to read. Abused by his mother, hooked on crack from a young age, the man always fought his demons. I watched his life play out in fragments on the internet, and it seemed like he was getting better. That’s what makes his death so painful: he seemed like a person. He struggled, he got arrested, he did the wrong things. He had a larger than life personality, and he ripped through life with a kind of ferocity that I found admirable. Of course, I didn’t know him, but I felt a parasocial bond all the same.

Here are some of my favorite DMX moments, compiled from tributes around the web. Rest in peace.

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