Growing up as a white kid in a predominantly white area my upbringing wasn’t as tragic as many, but through-out my teenage years the reality of life started cracking away the shell that had been built around me. Plenty of loss that left a void needing to be filled, but rather with strife, I turned to Dark Man X and many other artists just like him.
To live is to suffer. To survive, well, is to find meaning in the suffering-DMX
My parents divorced when I was just starting my teenage years. As one of the most important developmental times in a kid’s life I was going through some deep emotional trauma with them splitting up. My father filled his void with drinking and it destroyed our family. Without guidance I turned to what I knew, and at that time in my life, that was music. Around the same time DMX was coming out of the gates swinging. There wasn’t a person that didn’t know “Y’all gonna make me lose my mind!!!”. As a teen I blasted these albums on repeat. We didn’t have iTunes, Spotify, or anything like that. It was CDs and that is exactly how I listed to X. It’s Dark and Hell is Hot and DMX’s follow up, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood and …and Then There Was X, guided those teenage years of mine through the darkness that continued to plague my younger years.
I always felt like DMX spoke the truth no matter how harsh. He never glorified the drugs he was addicted to, just spoke to the pain and truth involved with the addiction he was faced with. While I wasn’t addicted to drugs, I was going through a pain of my parents separating, followed by my dad passing away… and as a kid, you do not exactly know how to deal with these things. DMX allowed me to let out the anguish I was facing watching my parents relationship burn to the ground. Hearing him rap with so much emotional depth, that deep voice, and the growl. I don’t why but those barks, his energy, whatever it was, it gave me the release to understand my own emotions to get me through.
DMX kept me grounded. I can only imagine what impressionable shit I could have gotten into coming out of a broken home. X allowed me to escape without hurting myself, and I can never thank him enough for that. While he isn’t the only artist that helped carry me through pain, this past week, reading and watching DMX slowly decline in health brought back a lot of these memories and made me remember how thankful I am for him and every single other artist out there, whether they know it or not, but their art is helping someone somewhere.
RIP Early Simmons aka Dark Man X