April 12, 2021

“Up in Here!”—Why DMX will Always have a Place in the Soundtrack of my Life.

Those who know me know I absolutely love rap music.

From the late 1970s to now, it has been the soundtrack of so much of my life.

I thank my mother for this love. She and I spent countless evenings dancing, singing, and living life to The Isley Brothers; Stevie Wonder; Earth, Wind & Fire; and Marvin Gaye—so much music, so little time.

My mother introduced me to her music and, in the late 70s, I introduced her to my music.

It all started with one album, and the song on repeat was “Rapper’s Delight,” by The Sugarhill Gang. I became absolutely as entranced with rap as I was with punk and New Romantic music. They were all generated by their own generations, their own movements, and they all represented change.

I could dive into the intersectionality between punk and hip-hop, and how both changed the world and those of us who were paying attention, but I won’t here (but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever!).

As someone who has defied staying within her lane of music, or liking only a few specific genres, it was easy for me to see the beauty in a band like Love and Rockets and how they tied so easily to bands like De La Soul. The world of music is full, rich, and transcendent.

And, for me, DMX was one of those eternally transcendent artists. His style and brand were brash, bold, and ushered in a new wave of hip-hop. He was a creator, a genre-buster, and he is now, as they say, a shooting star.

Earl Simmons—who was better known by his stage name, DMX, an acronym for Dark Man X—passed away on Friday, April 9, 2021. He rose to fame in the late 90s with his debut album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.”

I cannot tell you how many times I was not feeling “it”—it being going to work, dealing with a breakup and later a divorce, or finding the motivation to work out—and his music was what got me through. His songs became the soundtrack of my life.

His anthems were huge (who doesn’t remember the “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem“?), and he had his share of controversy, but he brought an absolutely real voice to the genre.

If we could all have theme music playing at various points in our lives, aren’t there times when “Party Up (Up in Here)” would be the theme of the day, the week, even the motherf*cking month?! And DMX was always there: in my car, banging through my windows, vibing through my seat. It didn’t matter the occasion, when his music came on, it was going down—whatever down was at the time.

For me, and for so many others who loved his music, DMX will be forever known as someone who pushed the genre, who created his own culture. But he will also be remembered as a father, a husband, a son, and even an actor. And he will always have a place in the soundtrack of our lives.

May he rest in power.

X Gon’ Give it to Ya!



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