Words are powerful. They can move nations, they can break hearts, and they can inspire the hopeless. They can also confuse the hell out of people when used improperly. And leading up to the Saturday night DMX show at House Nightclub, there was a bit of a brouhaha over who, exactly, was opening for whom.
The confusion began with both where DMX was booked, House — a club that normally caters to LGBT clientele on the weekends — and the identity of the other performer appearing that evening, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reality personality Erika Jayne.
Uproxx wrote an article asking what it means for hip-hop that DMX is performing at an LGBT club? Nothing. Like, at all. Especially considering the fact that he didn’t even know it was a gay club beforehand.
The truth is, neither of those things were of any real consequence. Jayne’s show was completely separate from the rabid rap star’s, and DMX's concert was never explicitly billed as gay-friendly. Hell, anyone who’s ever listened to more than one DMX song knows he loves homophobic slurs the way Drake loves turtleneck sweaters.
The one aspect of the promotion that did have a very real impact on the night was the scheduled time of his appearance. The information accompanying the flyer on the House website reads: “DMX – Live 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.” without context or explanation as to how he was going to perform for six hours straight. Just like those Craigslist ads for great money making opportunities, this was both vague and very misleading.
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For the first five hours and 52 minutes of this “show,” a jambalaya of rappers, seemingly plucked randomly from the streets, shouted and sweated across House's small stage. At around forty bucks a pop, this show would have been a tremendous value had this unexpected rap fest been of higher quality.
An increasingly bored and frustrated audience was subjected to act after act of dudes rapping over other artist’s beats and pre-recorded vocals. Most of it was embarrassing and painful outside of one rapper who called himself Legacy, who actually rapped live and, frankly, killed it. He was a cocky, shit-talking, battle rapper type. Had the audience not been so exhausted from the wait, he might’ve stolen the show.
After nearly every performer, the MC came on and reminded us all who we were there to see. For hours it was, “Are you ready for DMX?!”
Yeah. We were. Where is he? Considering the concert was scheduled to end at 11 p.m., time was something of the essence.
By the time DMX did jump up on stage, it was unclear how he’d have to do his thing with eight minutes remaining in the original timetable. However, the subsequent forty odd minutes was a furious speed reading of his best songs, bizarre mumblings, and feedback. So much fucking feedback.
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DMX brought out all the hits including “It’s All Good,” “Party Up (Up In Here),” “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Slippin’,” “Stop Being Greedy,” and “What These Bitches Want,” among others. During what felt like every other song, feedback interrupted the music and continued even after he switched microphones. To his credit, DMX never stopped and tried his hardest to work with the situation, but at one point he’d had it.
“Just for the record,” he growled, “this sound system fucking sucks.” It was the last time he addressed the crowd with such vigor.
After spending almost three quarters of an hour rapping about bitches, murder, and partying, DMX closed the show with an epic five-minute long rant about being a warrior for Jesus. It was essentially a Sunday morning church sermon if delivered by a mad, barking pit bull. He compared himself to a solider jumping out of a plane and yelled at the top of his lungs, “I am a soldier for the Lord” and left the crowd with a seismic roar, proclaiming, “In the name of Jesus!”
Perhaps his words spoke to some of those in the audience, but it’s more likely that many were as puzzled at the end of the night as they were when this, whatever it was, started.