DMX, a Profound Vessel for Pain

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The rapper, who died Friday, had no imitators because there was no way to falsify the life that forged him. He was a colossus, a fire-starter and a healer.

Even when DMX was the most popular rapper on the planet, he was a genre of one: a gruff, motivational, agitated and poignant fire-starter. Pure vigor and pure heart. A drill sergeant and a healer.

In 1998 and 1999, he released three majestic, bombastic albums: “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood” and “… And Then There Was X.” Each one debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart and has been certified platinum several times over. He performed at Woodstock ’99 for hundreds of thousands of people. He starred in “Belly,” the seminal 1998 hip-hop noir film. In his songs, he growled like a dog, credibly and often.

And yet there were no DMX clones in his wake because there was no way to falsify the life that forged him. Read more