DMX, born Earl Simmons, is one of the most successful rappers of our time but his legacy is often overlooked, due in part to his personal, public lows, including his criminal history and his prior struggle with crack cocaine. But, in the wake of his recent release and sobriety, DMX sat down with GQ for his first interview since his stint in prison for tax evasion and talked about his first heartbreak, being abused as a child, his top five most influential rappers, and more.
As some of you may remember, DMX is not only the only rapper to have his first five studio albums debut at number 1 on the Billboard 200, but he is also the only living rapper to have two albums go platinum in the same year.
Things obviously weren’t always on the up and up for DMX, though. When asked if it was true that he was abused as a child by his mother, the father of 15 said, “I would get up at night sometimes to drink water because I was so hungry. And I saw something in her notebook that was open on the kitchen table. And it was wrong, so I erased it. I thought I was helping. I don’t know what she thought I was doing,” he said, adding, ”but… I don’t know if she thought I was trying to sabotage her or whatever.”
“She beat two teeth out of my fucking mouth with a broom,” he said. ”And I think about this today, I’m like, “Okay, you saw me erase something in your notebook. What did you think I was trying to do?”
However, DMX revealed that just because his mother made mistakes, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her and that it, “Doesn’t mean she’s the same person. Children don’t come with a fucking instruction manual.”
DMX also talked about his first heartbreak which was caused by a girl from Connecticut that he met in New York. They seemed to be head over heels for each other, but he said he got into trouble and had to do a 4-month bid in jail, and that’s when things went awry. He said she came to visit him a couple of times with her mom, but then they eventually ended up moving back to Connecticut.
When the rapper finally got out, he said he looked her up in a phone book, and after reconnecting by phone, he drove to CT with no money to see her. He said he went up to her job after he drove to her house and couldn’t find her. She told him she was getting out of work at 10 pm, but she must have snuck out through a back door because when 10 pm rolled around, she was nowhere to be found. His last plan to get her attention again was to pull up on her at a club he knew she might be.
“I’m like, “Yo, what up?” She like, “Hey.” I’m walking up the steps with her, she was like, “You coming in?” I’m like, “Yeah.” Then we get to the door of the club, and she’s like, “You don’t have no money,” he recalled. ”I’m like, “Uh-uh.” She was like, “You ain’t got no money? What type of man is you?” I just looked like, “All right, now it’s clear what it is.” So I just left. I just left. That shit hurt my feelings.”
Fast forward years later, the ‘Sucka For Love’ rapper tried to get closure on Ricki Lake. X shared that after being asked to appear on the show for an episode where fans met their favorite artist, he agreed to do it under one condition. He said that he’d have to be allowed to film another show where his former crush was invited on as a guest, and he’d pop up like, ‘Yeah, what up?’ He said that he wasn’t going to me mean, but he just wanted to say, “I’m this type of man. Double-platinum, two-platinum-albums-in-one-year type of man.” He said he just wanted to know why she did him like that.
As the interview continued, X opened up about the infamous top 5 rappers debate, in which he revealed that he does not have a top-five list because although there are a lot of talented rappers, many don’t have longevity. He said, “If they only come out with one album, how could you compare that against someone else who put out seven albums?”
However, his top five most influential rappers include Jimmy Spicer, a.k.a. Super Rhyme, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Slick Rick, and Kool G Rap, in no particular order.