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The 10 Ways DMX Shifted The Landscape of Hip-Hop

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Preezy Brown

Preezy Brown is a New York City-based reporter and writer,…

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Debuting in 1998 with his multi-platinum debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, DMX would go on an unprecedented run through the rap game, breaking and setting numerous records throughout the peak years of his career. Photo Credit: KMazur/WireImage via Getty

In celebration of his life and legacy, we highlighted ten ways DMX impacted, influenced, and changed the rap game forever.

The rap world received tragic news on Friday (April 9th) when it was announced that legendary rapper and actor Earl “DMX” Simmons was pronounced dead as a result of a heart attack. He was 50 years old. DMX, who was hospitalized on April 3 after being found unresponsive, was put on life support in an effort to preserve his life, but ultimately was unable to be revived from his “vegetative” state. The announcement sparked an outpour of grief from Simmons’ family, peers, and fans alike.

Debuting in 1998 with his multi-platinum debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, the rapper would go on an unprecedented run through the rap game, breaking and setting numerous records throughout the peak years of his career. Releasing eight studio albums and starring in numerous films, DMX is regarded as one of the most iconic figures of his generation and one of the greatest rap artists of all-time.

In celebration of his life and legacy, we highlighted ten ways DMX impacted, influenced, and changed the rap game forever.

1. Brought the streets back from the “Shiny Suit Era”

DMX was a bit out of place upon his arrival on the rap scene in 1997. At the time, hip-hop was engulfed in a full on blitz of glitz and glamour, led by Diddy’s Bad Boy Records, which had a chokehold on the charts with their lighthearted, sample-friendly brand of commercial rap. With the death of The Notorious B.I.G. leaving the throne of New York City rap vacant and fans clamoring for something other than the usual, DMX came to the rescue, disarming the hip-hop populous with his gruff tenor, rugged aesthetic, and a lyrical style and sonic sound born out of the concrete. Following the release of his classic debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998, with millions of records sold, the people all but confirmed that it was a new day for street rap, with DMX at the forefront of the movement.

2. Popularized dropping multiple albums on one year

DMX Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of My Blood

In 1998, DMX did something out of the ordinary, releasing his sophomore album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, just months after making a seismic splash with his debut. Photo Credit: Jonathan Mannion for Def Jam

Years before rap artists dropped projects at a rapid pace, DMX did something out of the ordinary, releasing his sophomore album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, just months after making a seismic splash with his debut. Recorded at the behest of Def Jam Lyor Cohen, who was looking to further capitalize on the X hype, for a price tag of one million dollars, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood continued DMX’s dominance, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making him the first artist in history to achieve that feat. As time would pass, this feat would be achieved by the likes of Future, who famously dropped two albums a week apart that both topped the albums chart, as well.

3. Brought vulnerability to the forefront

In a culture that’s often accused of being hyper-masculine, with plenty of machismo to spare, DMX brought a refreshing balance upon his arrival in the rap game. Numerous artists had share and shown pieces of themselves and their innermost feelings and thoughts on wax before, but for DMX, these displays of vulnerability were free for the world to see, as he famously cried while onstage during live performances on various occasions. Displaying a child-like innocence and yearning for unconditional love musically, in interviews, and elsewhere, DMX helped allow artists to be and show more of themselves, not only in the booth, but while living life itself.

4. Helped make embracing your spirituality a trend in hip-hop

Religion and spirituality are common themes within hip-hop if you delve beneath the surface, but when you close out your debut album — as well as live performances — with a prayer, it’s clear that you’re in tune, on both levels. Praise of one’s Lord and Savior are largely reserved for award speeches, yet, DMX’s relationship with God was always palpable and at the core of what he represented as an artist and a man. Once stating that he would halt his music career to focus on ministry and spreading the word as he knows it, DMX helped make embracing your spirituality a thing in hip-hop.

5. Brought motor bike culture to the mainstream

The music video for DMX’s definitive single, “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” begins with a man hitting a wheelie on a motor-bike with the Ruff Ryders logo emblazoned on it, an opening scene that not only helped set the tone for the video itself, but an influx of Black bikers in the hip-hop community. Utilizing his popularity and platform to showcase the Ruff Ryders stable of talented bikers, a number of his videos incorporate motor-bikes and four-wheelers in some capacity, a trend that would catch on and continues to live on today by a new generation of rap artists. A classic muscle car enthusiast himself, DMX may not have been hitting wheelies on the freeway, however, his role in helping bring biker culture into the hip-hop consciousness like never before cannot be ignored or understated.

6. Birthed rap’s Rated R action hero

DMX was far from the first rapper to parlay his rap career into a shot at Hollywood, as stars like Will Smith, Queen Latifah, LL Cool, Ice Cube and others took that leap years prior. That said, DMX’s role in the 1998 crime-flick Belly thrust him into being rap’s leading man quicker than you can say Tupac Shakur, with his masterful performance drawing rave reviews. Untrained in the arts and noticeably rough around the edges, DMX proved to be a natural, prompting bigwig movie executive Joel Silver to tap him to appear in three hit films, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, and Cradle 2 the Grave, in which he was cast as an action hero and leading man alongside the likes of Steven Seagal, Jet Li, and late R&B star Aaliyah.

7. Launched an entire hip-hop empire 

Prior to becoming one of the biggest powerhouse record labels in rap history, Ruff Ryders Entertainment was a management company looking to get its feet in the door of the industry. That goal became a reality after linking with DMX during the early ’90s, who helped Ruff Ryders founders Joaquin “Waah” Dean and Darin “Dee” Dean first gain a deal through Ruffhouse/Columbia before building the seismic buzz that made Def Jam come knocking. As the biggest new rap star on the planet, X’s light shone brightly over Ruff Ryders as a brand and the rest of their roster, which helped secure their distribution deal with Interscope Records, where they went on to sell millions of records.

8. Gave dogs a seat the hip-hop table

DMX holding dogs black and white

DMX’s relationship with dogs is one of the aspects of his personality that endeared him to rap fans worldwide. Photo Cyredit: Jonathan Mannion via family

Dog is a man’s best friend, and a number of rappers, particularly Snoop Dogg, are even synonymous with them. However, while others before him merely used canines for imagery and accessories for photo ops, DMX truly embodied the spirit of that phrase, brandishing his love for pitbulls like the heart on his sleeve. From catching his first criminal charge for stealing a junkyard dog to tattooing the name of his beloved pooch, Boomer, across his back, DMX’s relationship with dogs is one of the aspects of his personality that endeared him to rap fans worldwide.

9. Shifted the stigma surrounding drug addiction in hip-hop

In hip-hop, the stigma surrounding drug addiction is a prevalent topic, with a number of artists admitting their struggles with drug abuse, and some tragically succumbing to it, in recent years. DMX, who acknowledged his own addiction throughout his career, was the first mainstream rap artist to speak candidly on their experience in that realm, humanizing himself, as well as others, in the process. That transparency has helped open the door for others to come forward with their own testimonials, an aspect of his legacy that is often overlooked.

10. Became a chart topping rapper on his own terms

Having one or two albums that were the top-selling albums upon their release is a considerable accomplishment for most artists, but in the case of DMX, it doesn’t even scratch the needle. With the release of Grand Champ in 2003, DMX made history by becoming the first artist in the history of music to have their first five studio albums top the Billboard 200, placing the Dark Man in a class of his own. What makes him unique is that he never chased trends or comprised his style. DMX was making hits on his own terms, whether it was releasing rugged songs like “Get At Me Dog” or melancholy singles like “Slippin’” or straight gospel records like “Lord Give Me a Sign.”

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Preezy Brown is a New York City-based reporter and writer, filling the empty spaces within street and urban culture. A product of the School of Hard Knocks, Magna Cum Laude. The Crooklyn Dodger. Got Blunt?



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Rihanna Officially Joins The Billionaire’s Club!!!

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Rihanna has made history, becoming a member of the Billionaire’s Club! She is now the richest female musician.

Rihanna Fenty Is Smiling All The Way To The Bank

We knew it was only a matter of time before we would be seeing the name Rihanna and the word Billionaire in the same sentence.

Just announced by Forbes today, our girl Riri has joined the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z, and Kanye West as a bonafide billionaire.

And not just for her music, which by the way fans are anxiously awaiting her next release. Rihanna’s last album was “Anti” which came out in 2016.

Since then, here’s what she’s been up to –

  • launched Fenty Beauty make-up brand in 2017
  • Savage X Fenty Lingerie Line in 2018
  • landed a role in “Ocean’s 8” which premiered in 2018
  • performed at Coachella
  • starred in the tropical thriller “Guava Island”

Of all her projects, the cash cow is Fenty Beauty, which is worth upwards of $1.4 billion dollars. Shaking up the cosmetics industry, Fenty Beauty was launched with 40 shades of foundation.

rihanna fenty beauty

Unheard of in the cosmetic industry, with so many shades to choose from, she revolutionalized the industry and they quickly took notice.

While that’s enough to keep a girl busy, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Lingerie Line is worth another estimated $270 million dollars. And again she rocked the industry with her shows being all-inclusive, all shades, all sizes.

rihanna savage x fenty

The remaining $1.7 billion dollars comes from various music and acting gigs, according to Forbes.

Rihanna Continues To Make History

In 2019, Rihanna launched her luxury fashion house “Fenty” under the LVHM (Moet Hennessy, Louis Vuitton) brand. LVHM is the world leader in luxury. By doing so, she became –

  • the first person since 1987 to launch a new house with LVMH
  • the first woman to create an original brand there and
  • also the first woman of color at the top of the LVMH Maison.

At 33 years old, the self-made Barbadian beauty is not finished yet. Just last week, the brand announced that it will launch a unisex fragrance line, Fenty Parfum (created by Riri herself).

In fact, starting August 10th, you can actually be one of the first to sample this product. While making a $40+ purchase at Fentybeauty.com, you get a sample of Fenty eau de parfum.

Riri To Receive The NAACP President’s Award For Stellar Public Service

Announced by NAACP, RiRi will be receiving the President’s Award during the Feb. 22nd Image Awards broadcast. Not only for her groundbreaking career as an artist and musician but for her stellar public service.

What’s next for Riri? Hopefully an album. While being interviewed for an October Vogue article, Rihanna teased that her next project will be influenced by reggae, saying –

“It’s not gonna be typical of what you know as reggae…Reggae always feels right to me. It’s in my blood. It doesn’t matter how far or long removed I am from that culture or the environment that I grew up in; it never leaves.”

We see you’ve been plenty busy, I guess we can wait a little longer for the music to drop.

Congrats Miss Rihanna Fenty, we are so proud of you!



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Ice-T Defends Wife’s Decision To Continue Breastfeeding Their Five-Year-Old

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Ice-T is currently trending on Twitter thanks to an interesting message he posted.

Coco Austin and daughter Chanel attend 'Bash for the Bulldogs' Benefit

Source: Rob Rich/WENN.com / WENN

“News Flash! We feed Chanel FOOD…” Ice-T tweeted. “She just likes to suck moms boob every now and then… Me Too!!!”

The rapper turned actor defended a recent interview his wife Coco, 42, did with US Weekly where she defending continuing to breastfeed their daughter past the age of two.

“You want to know something? Chanel still loves my boob,” Coco told US Weekly. “She’s five years old. It’s a big bonding moment for a mother and your child.”A lot of people are like ‘oh you’re not getting the nutrition after 2-years-old, why do it?’ And I’m like, my child is eating steak and hamburgers, she just likes a little snack every now and then and more of the bonding with the mother. Why take that away from her? I’ve gone into the subject many times now that I have a daughter. Europeans, they stop around 7-years-old. They go until the child doesn’t want to do it anymore and that’s where I’m at with it. If she doesn’t want it, all right, that’s where you stop it,” she told Us Weekly. “But I’m not just going to say no boob. At night she cuddles with my boob she calls it the “boo boo” and she loves on it, it’s not like she’s getting a meal from it. She’s getting a little snack and it’s soothing her to sleep. I think all women do something a differently when it comes to their child but I don’t want to deprive the boob from her.”

Coco joined her mom for the interview saying, “You know what? Boob makes me sleep.”

“I don’t want to deprive her of something that she wants just because society says you need to stop after two,” Coco continued. “This is my child. There’s no stopping at a specific time and I’ve had numerous arguments about this on Instagram because I have a lot of moms who follow me.”

Coco also admitted that Chanel (and the family’s four dogs) join her and Ice-T in their “family bed” and that Chanel is allowed to watch horror films. The five-year-old even chimed in that the first movie she saw was, “IT.”

Listen — to each their own. But we can see why Ice’s tweet would stir up more controversy. Do you think it was a bad move on his part to take something like breastfeeding that people WRONGLY try to sexualize and then add a sexual element to it and not expect people to be critical?

How old were your kids when you decided to stop breastfeeding? How about sleeping in your bed? And how about R rated movies — how young is too young for kids to watch?





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Ja’king the Divine – “Delusions of Grandeur” (Album)

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Brooklyn and Long Island are not only known for being the base of some of the originators of Hip Hop, but also known for spawning a bunch of new upcoming names. Stream “Delusions of Grandeur“, the new project from bubbling emcee Ja’king the Divine.



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