Death Rock 2000

I'd say that DMX more than Kelis is self-consciously fucked and making an issue of it. "You know he hurt before he died/And you wonder if he lost his shirt before he died/Only two knew the answer, and one of us is dead/So anyone who seeks the truth can get it straight to the head/Then you and him can discuss what I did/Yeah, it was wrong dog but I slid/I will pay one day, just not right now." He certainly doesn't take it into Stones-Stooges territory, where the audience participates in its own rejection. But with DMX, like Kelis, it's not so much that in the words he's portraying himself as out of control, it's the sound, his voice; and sounding out of control is what, maybe, is relatively new to black music.

In older gangsta rap, no matter what was going on in the lyrics, the rappers tended to hang back, sound cool. For instance, Dre and Dogg sounded cool and controlled in "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang." But DMX, when he wants to emphasize a lyric, moves his voice from smooth to clumsy. He doesn't, of course, get to white land, where losing control is a kind of letting loose, a break into freedom. For DMX it's more like he's breaking down—he can be a danger, he can be in danger. And this is why, no matter what the shit he's saying, there's a vulnera-bility to him. Which I guess lets me onto his cloud (unless he shoots me or something).

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