Culture News

Hip-Hop Trailblazer DMX Dies at 50

The rapper was on life support after suffering a heart attack.

Earl Simmons, the pioneering hardcore rapper better known as DMX, died Friday after suffering a heart attack. He was 50 years old.

"We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50 years old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days," the rapper's family said in a statement. "Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end. He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl's music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever. We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized."

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FILM

On This Day: "Belly" Wasn't a Good Movie

The Hip Hop crime drama Belly isn't as great as some remember.

Belly released in theaters on November 4, 1998. The film was written and directed by the most in-demand Hip-Hop/R&B music video director at the time, Hype Williams.

Belly - Trailer youtu.be


Belly's cast consists of rap's biggest stars at the time, Nas, DMX, and Method Man. Belly became an instant cult classic in the Hip-Hop community; its cinematography and gritty depiction of street life were as vivid as some of its cast's infamous lyrics. However, once you remove the all-star cast and the sensationalized presentation of street life, it is a story that is flawed and unrealistic.

Belly's plot focuses on Sincere (Nas) and Tommy, AKA Buns (DMX), childhood friends who are involved in the drug game. Though the two men are inseparable, their temperaments are in stark contrast with each other.

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Popdust Presents

Popdust Presents | Dame Grease Relishes in His Legacy

The hip-hop legend gets right to the point in discussing his status, the state of music today & rap culture.

Grease certainly lives up to his throne.

March 28, 2018 | Dame Grease is damn near untouchable. His legacy is well-known within the hip-hop world, but his greatest hits include essential work with DMX (It's Dark and Hell is Hot) and The LOX (Money, Power & Respect), and his influence has stretched two decades and can be felt within much of today's new breakouts. His pedigree also includes producing for Jay Z, Riff Raff, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, T.I., Max B, Nas, Harlem World, Fat Joe, and countless others. He's built the kind of magnificent kingdom that's allowed him the luxury to explore music in deeper, richer contexts -- and it sure helps that he's sold millions of records, too.

Earlier this year, Dame Grease took a time out to chat with Popdust host Deascent about his icon status, how producing differs today, what he listens to today, strength in energy, and building tracks. Watch the engaging, wide-ranging interview above.

Out of Harlem, Dame Grease's gifts in the recording studio were evident early on. He has not only cultivated a sound all his own but helped the street sound of late '90s and early '00s hip-hop, extending beats to hit harder and longer and building erupting moods through his craftsmanship. He lent his talents to Mase's 1997 studio record Harlem World and later mentored Swiss Beatz, who became a force of his very own. His mark cemented in the pantheon of music history, Grease expanded his horizons in the early '00s by dabbling in composition for film, scoring Exit Wounds (2001), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) and Never Die Alone (2004).

Grease's latest release, an instrumental album called King of Beats, Vol. 1, draws upon his vast musical knowledge of classic soul, funk, and classically-structured hip-hop. Essential cuts like "Crack Babies," "Silver Surfer," and "It's Quiet" rely on thoughtful crescendos embedded in the music, allowing the grooves to sit and shift on the eardrums to enrich the listener's experience.

It's no surprise Dame Grease has kept his pulse on what is happening in the mainstream. He's had to keep his head above water his whole life. He explains, "To tell the truth, I never inducted myself all the way into the industry. I stay half in and half out, mainly closer to the streets and with my family. You know how I could be 70-years-old and can stay connected to what's going on because it's like I'm looking at it like that. I come from the hard life and no parents and you have to take care of yourself when I was 13-years-old. So, a lot of things people couldn't tell you that you can't do, I couldn't believe in none of that."

Over the years, Dame Grease has amassed countless superstar credits, including putting his stamp on Riff Raff's 2013 studio set, Hologram Panda, "one of the best projects to date," says Dame Grease. "He's cool and he's talented. He did seven songs in one day. I actually hooked up with him after I did a track with the 3 Locos, which consists of Riff Raff, Simon Rex, and Andy Milonakis. I did a song with them called 'Off With Your Head,' so we [were] in the studio and Riff was like, 'Yo, Grease you got some more beats, let's do something.' I'm like, 'Well, s****, that's all I have are beats.' So, we hooked up while I was mastering DMX's Undisputed album and played 20 beats for him. He chose seven of them, put his headphones on, wrote them, and we went to the next studio to knock them out."

Follow Dame Grease on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in B-Sides & Badlands, Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.


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READY TO POP | The Night Game, Whitney Road & More Offer Protest Songs

Good Day NY’s Greg Kelly, does NOT want any dick sucking with his morning coffee—nope, no, no siree!

The 45-year-old host made his feelings on the subject pretty clear this morning when a lighthearted Name That Tune segment went hilariously wrong—Popdust has video.

Someone—who is likely shuffling along to the unemployment line right about now—decided it would be a great idea to add a little DMX into the mix.

What could possibly go wrong with that?!!!

Well, how about if the DMX song they chose was Party Up—you know, the one where he shouts “suck my dick!”

Kelly was clearly NOT amused…..hilarity ensues.

As they say, it isn't Christmas until the dulcet tones of DMX are ringing through the halls, the boy-boy rapper delighting children and adults alike with his holiday tales. And, right on cue, here's DMX's first appearance of the season, singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" during an appearance at Power 105.1.

While we definitely approve of Power 105 and their mission to bring DMX into the studio solely for the purpose of producing hilarious viral videos, we have some concerns. Watch their video of DMX complaining about computers from back in September again—notice anything? Here's a screengrab:

And here's a shot from the beginning of the "Rudolph" video:

So! Either DMX has one shirt that he wears to every Power 105 appearance, and they just happened to align with this station employee repeating her outfits, or Power 105.1 has a whole treasure trove of awesome DMX videos they are just waiting for the perfect seasonally appropriate time to release. Crafty!

During the slow hour of one lazy Friday afternoon, our imaginations were captured by a tweet by comedian DC Pierson:

 

Does changing the word "dog" into "God" really make things more metal? We couldn't let such an assertion go untested, we ran an experiment on some of our favorite music titles.

All illustrations by Dustin Drankowski/Popdust.

This is certainly not a very metal song to begin with, but in this case even after the change it sounds more like a hippie-dippy atheism anthem than any sort of black-metal screamer. The curlycue font doesn't help matters.

 

This is more like it. We've found the only title change that makes DMX even more larger-than-life.

 

We would pay an immense amount of money to hear what this song would sound like

 

This is a pretty metal title by itself, but the demon creatures in the background make it. We were about to hand Bowie the "Most Improved" title, until we saw this final challenger...

 

As the devilish calls of the Baha Men ring through our halls, the Great Old Ones will wake from their slumber and unleash a storm of unfathomable terror that devours every living creature on God's Earth.