Earl Simmons, better known as the rapper DMX, died last week. I didn’t know much about him or his raps; the only music of his that was even slightly familiar to me was “Party Up (Up in Here).” But the more I read about him on Twitter and heard about him on The Breakfast Club and other news reports, the more I wanted to learn about him. People called him a poet and a preacher. In an MTV interview, DMX said he thought of his lyrics as poetry. He appeared on Def Poetry with a spoken word poem “The Industry” about the music business. His 1998 album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot” includes “Prayer,” the beginning lyrics I provide below. It is best to hear his powerful voice for yourself, especially if you are someone who believes in praying, and you can do that at this link.
I come to you hungry and tired, you give me food and let me sleep
I come to you weak, you give me strength and that’s deep
You call me a sheep and lead me to green pastures
Only asking that I keep the focus in between the chapters
You give me the word and only ask that I interpret
And give me the eyes that I may recognize the serpent
You know I ain’t perfect, but you’d like me to try
Unlike the devil who just wants me to lie, ’til I die
Lord, why is it that I go through so much pain?
All I saw was black, all I felt was rain
I come to you because it’s you who knows
You showed me that everything was black because my eyes were closed
© Earl Simmons, 1998
Peace, love, and solace