“It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” - it was the title of the album that I hid from my parents and wore out all through ’98 and ’99. When I look back at it now, it was full of things my younger self didn’t understand fully, but my adult self now finds problematic: robbing, killing, and (*TRIGGER WARNING*) even lyrics about gross sexual abuse and misconduct. But what my younger self could see and gravitated to was how relatable the inner conflict was in DMX; how unmistakably human he was. The same man that wrote “Damien” about the proverbial devil on his shoulder, could also write “Prayer” and have a vulnerable conversation with God. This was a man trapped between the addictions of the flesh, and the anointing of a higher spiritual calling; the sins of his past haunted him while hints of the higher spiritual frequency within him, struggled to make itself known and heard in spite of his reputation for grit and violence. It is so difficult to evolve; to prune the pieces of ourselves that are dead so we can continue to grow. It is so difficult to reflect, heal, and find healthy tools to resolve or cope with traumatic pasts. It is difficult to be the best version of yourself.
DMX taught me that in music, our imperfections - our humanity - could create a masterpiece; but on hearing his death today, I’m reminded that fulfillment, self-love, and healing are necessary for one to be present in this version of life, peacefully.
I pray for his peace now - no matter what you believe, there is some form of immortality in man’s story.
RIP Earl Simmons.