The year was 2000. Y2K had come and gone. It was a new millennium. A new era.
I was eleven years old going on 12, and just starting to get into music. Or so I thought. I just wanted to be cool. One day my dear Nana decided to take me to a music store called FYE, which no longer exists, to buy me a CD of my choice.
I watched MTV and I knew what the kids were listening to. I wanted in on this coolness. My key, I thought, was DMX. This was his year and it was going to be mine too.
So, nerdy little white kid goes into the music store with his grandmother. There it was, DMX’s classic album ….And There was X. I was in. This was my ticket to pure preteen hipness. To think what was going through poor Nana’s mind as her innocent and awkward grandson picked up a cd with a huge X and bald black dude on the cover from the “urban music” section of the store. Poor Nana.
So we go back to Nana’s house and she said she wanted to listen to a song I liked by Mr. X. I was afraid to let Nana in to the dark world of gangster rap, that I actually knew nothing about, but I said o.k. since she bought it. The only song I was really familiar with was the single “What’s My Name”. So I popped in the disc, skipped to track 10 and pressed play. Mind you, this was not the uncensored version that most 11 year olds would get.
The dark, hard beat started….
“This is the FUCKING shit I be talking about! Half rapping ass MOTHAFUCKAS! You think it’s a game? YOU THINK IT’S A FUCKING GAME!? BARK BARK BARK!”
These were the first words we heard. Before the actual song could start, Nana said she had heard enough. I like to think she then went to go pray that her grandson, who was clearly possessed by the devil and/or black people, be saved.
Months later, I started listening to Green Day and Blink 182 and my “skater punk” years began. I eventually returned to hip hop, and now it’s a staple in my life. I owe it all to DMX though. So thank you, for terrifying my family and possibly giving me a tiny but of 12 year old swag.