DMX Breaks Down While Discussing How God Saved His Life (Video)
This morning (June 28), DMX was a guest on The Breakfast Club. The onetime superstar rapper spoke for more than an hour with Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy about a host of topics. At times drinking cognac straight from the bottle, the Yonkers, New York lyricist got emotional in speaking about his faith, his children, and his storied battle with addiction. In 2016, DMX’s career has evolved from five consecutive #1 major label albums to a fully independent state.
At the opening of the interview, X is pressed about his upcoming album—and first in nearly a decade. Angela Yee asks the artist about accounts from Swizz Beatz that Dr. Dre was being tapped for beats, along with a likely Kanye West reunion. (2:30) “Is Swizz [Beatz] waiting on Kanye [West] and [Dr.] Dre? I’m not waitin’ on anybody. I’m bangin’ shit out,” clarified DMX. “When the songs come, it don’t matter who did the beat. If it’s a dope beat, I’m gonna write to it.” The MC revealed that his writing process can often start with two bars prompting an entire song. As far as high-profile producers outside of his Ruff Ryders family, the artist noted, “I haven’t heard from these people…I would love to have a Dre beat.” Later in the interview, X confirms that Swizz purchased him a 1960s Shelby inspired by the Gone In 60 Seconds remake. The muscle car-enthusiast rapper says he will receive the gift upon renewing his driver’s license.
By the 9:00 mark, the discussion delves deeply into DMX’s faith. In his songs and through features on albums like The Game’s L.A.X., Earl Simmons has often blurred the lines between pastor and poet. “Whenever I went through something, it brought me closer to God.” Quite literally, DMX opens up about the asthma-related heart problems that the rapper believes nearly cost him his life earlier this year. (10:45) In speaking about that, X addressed the rumors that the hospitalization was related to drug overdose. “People are gonna say what they’re gonna say. I’m not worried about that. But the blessing in that is that a lot of things changed right at that point.” He adds, “I didn’t always do what I was supposed to do with [life].” By 18:30, the artist expounded further on his strong faith. In a moment of heavy emotion, DMX proclaimed, “We all know what God is capable of doing. We know what God is able to do. But we don’t know what he’s willing to do until we’re in the situation where we need him to do it!”
By 20:00, DMX is asked if and how financial success changed him. The MC revealed that after once using materialism to belittle others, he eventually removed the word “bum” from his vocabulary. “Some of the realest niggas in the world is broke. Who am I to call somebody a sucka?” He affirmed, “Me bein’ me is what got me here! As far as character-wise, that’s what got me to where I’m at.”
The discussion grows to examine DMX turning down a Bad Boy Records contract in the late 1990s. He said that he helped bring The LOX to Bad Boy, who would release one album at the label. X, who was also shopped to Puff Daddy, admitted that the mogul suggested some changes to the rapper’s style and delivery. As his buzz would increase, those criticisms would ultimately lead X to sign with Def Jam instead for half the advance. “If you didn’t see it then, what changed?,” he recalled thinking of Puff’. (25:50) After talking about Diddy, he admits that he made a mistake in judging Drake. “I didn’t like this dude for all the wrong reasons.” X says Drake personally reached out for permission to sample hit “How’s It Goin’ Down” for Views inclusion “U With Me?” “That was a real move,” declared DMX.
(29:00) The discussion of Rap peers moves to include Ja Rule. This week, X was photographed with his onetime collaborator and label-mate (38:00). According to Dark Man X, the two squashed their 2000s beef during a past taping of Vh1’s Hip-Hop Honors. Seated near each other, the two feuding rappers decided to put animosity to rest. “It’s easy to be ignorant. A stupid motherfucker will be ignorant.”
At 32:00, DMX reveals his performance rituals. Earlier this month, he was a headliner at the 2016 Roots Picnic, after recently sharing a bill with Ja. The MC confirmed he refuses to watch other entertainers perform—due to fear of losing originality. He also discusses his backstage praying rituals. “What people forget is that a miracle will only happen on the platform of a tragedy.”
While DMX is now cool with Ja Rule and Drake, he confirmed he has not spoken to Jay Z in years (43:00). The onetime tour and studio collaborators had a falling out during Jay’s tenure as Def Jam Records’ head. X says that while the two New Yorkers fell out, he has no animosity. He later reminds Heads that he and Jay Z’s relationship began at odds in the 1990s. The rapper believes he won the famous New York City battle on a pool-table, claiming an undefeated record. As far as the rift, at 56:00, he says it started after Grand Champ, X’s fifth consecutive #1—a feat that Jay Z would later surpass. The Y-O artist believes that departing from Def Jam for Year Of The Dog…Again gave the public a poor perception of the rapper. He alluded to blaming Jay Z for that image. “As strong as I am, to walk around holding anger weighs you down. I ain’t got to be mad at anyone […] I got too much other shit to focus on; I got 14 kids, man.” (45:00) DMX spoke about his kids—with a confirmed 15th child on the way. Charlamagne asked the Ruff Ryder about his nine children’s mothers, and why exactly the rapper has such a large family.
On air, The Breakfast Club debuted “Blood Red,” produced by Divine Beats. Returning to the spiritual discussion, DMX confirmed a new direction in his music. “Seven years ago, I’m getting high and writing in the studio—and all I’m doin’ is writing Gospel songs. I wrote and recorded seven songs in one fuckin’ night! It was a battle.” The rapper elaborated that he regularly feels the tug-of-war between God and the Devil, a theme he has used throughout his career. (49:00) Here, X returned to touching about his struggles with addiction. “I knew I had a problem […] My life is revitalized through my music,” he said of finding his greatest success during periods of drug use. “Now, I choose to look for the good in any situation.” After spitting some Godly bars, the onetime star stated that his faith is his lifeblood (52:00). “Without that, I don’t know how much longer I’ma make it.”
At 53:00, DMX spoke about another of his longtime producers, Dame Grease. Appearing to dismiss 2012’s Undisputed album, X blames his once hit-making partner. “I gave [Dame Grease] the responsibility of mixing it, and I get a lot of ‘my bad.'” He continued, “Half them joints was fucked up…on the mix, levels and everything.” The rapper says that the Vacant Lot producer will still have at least two new songs on his upcoming LP. Of the present trends in Rap, DMX says in 2016, his brand for hardcore Hip-Hop stands tall. “It sucks for the fans, but it leaves me in a class of my own.” The MC also appeared to mock the “surf”-themed era of the music.
Near the one-hour mark, DMX confirmed the pre-production of film, Belly 2. He noted that a copyright was placed on the film, explaining a delay for its sequel. He reveals a treatment exists. “I talked to Nas. I talked to [Method Man],” he said of co-stars, not confirming their involvement. Next up will reportedly be a 15 minute trailer. While director Hype Williams is not yet on board, the rapper hinted that the plot-line traces his character’s (Tommy “Buns” Bundy) prison release and return to society. The original film was released in 1998.
The interview ends with a powerful closing prayer—that appears to evoke the fire and fervor that has made DMX a Hip-Hop household name for nearly 20 years. In the moment, he touches hands with the Power 105 Breakfast Club team and professes his faith and love of life in a way that even DMX’s biggest skeptics cannot laugh at.