In this episode of “People’s Party With Talib Kweli,” Kweli and Jasmin Leigh sit down with legendary rapper, writer, actor, and one of hip-hop’s most respected lyricists and distinctive voices.
The emcee with unmatched intensity —
An “unstoppable force” —
D – M – X
In this interview, X truly doesn’t hold anything back — offering us a rare glimpse into the life of one of the most uncompromising and authentic figures in the culture. Things start off with DMX reflecting on his success, almost a decade in the making. They discuss X’s trauma growing up with bronchial asthma, often waking up out of breath, and how that contributed to his signature voice. X speaks his early days of slanging mixtapes, and rap battles while locked up. DMX’s pain is palpable as he shares the now-viral story of being tricked into smoking crack by his rap mentor, which segues into talking about blind trust, and emotional honesty.
Later, the trio discusses a decades-old rap battle when X and his Harlem Nights crew were pitted against Jay-Z and Original Flavor, ending in guns being drawn. They discuss X’s book ‘E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX’, as well as X having to audition for Def Jam’s Lyor Cohen while his jaw was wired shut.
X shares what happened to the would-be group of Jay-Z, Ja-Rule, and himself that Irv Gotti assembled but never came to fruition after recording six songs collectively. He also talks about why he didn’t want to record ‘Ruff Ryder’s Anthem’ at first, claiming it sounded “elementary.” They explore X’s persona of the conscious emcee packed as a gangster rapper, and X speaks about the iconic clip of his birthday roundtable freestyle session with Big Pun, Canibus, DMX, Mos Def, Mic Geronimo & John Forte. He also touches on his life-long connection with canines, as he tells about stealing his first dog and how he earned its trust. X then goes into the 90 days of solitary confinement he did while incarcerated, some of the craziest things he saw in the pen, X’s deep-rooted faith, and how it guides his life decisions. Late in the episode, X talks about witnessing the beautiful, warm spirit of Aaliyah when he worked with her on the movie ‘Romeo Must Die’. He then speaks on his upcoming album with contributions from some of the biggest names in the industry, and the interview concludes with X giving us some powerful bars, straight from the heart.