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DMX @ The TLA (Eventually).

June 12, 2012

Text and images by Chris Malo.

Walking up to the TLA this past Sunday night for the “The Weigh In” DMX Promo tour, it became immediately clear that this was no ordinary show for Earl Simmons (aka DMX) when I bumped into Irv Gotti and his lovely companion getting out of his convertible Bentley coupe parked immediately in front of the venue.

South Street was looking like the Greek and everyone there was anticipating an epic night. And they weren’t disappointed. Even if Dog Man X didn’t arrive until nearly midnight.

Between 9 p.m. and X’s arrival, people tolerated the standard garbage rap, each group trying to out yell, out curse, out kill, out slang and out thug the next. There was one shining moment for the openers though, when Chinko Da Great took the stage. Dude was good, not a one trick pony like the 99 percent of recycled garbage out there. Good beats, his flow was on point, he enunciated each word, had a flow which he switched up, and wasn’t the only dude in his click that could rap. He was definitely the standout, but his teammates weren’t trash either. Don’t be surprised if you see him in the next issue of JUMP magazine.

Eventually one of the hosts of the evening, 107.9’s DJ Damage came clean and announced that DMX’s tour bus had “broken down” and that he was running late.

After Kid Cudi’s “private jet” issues and no-show at the Roots Picnic, I was a little skeptical. But a short time later when the Ruff Ryder‘s Philadelphia division took the stage in their leather motorcycle vests, I knew that the show would actually go on.

There are some rappers whose live performance is a crap-shoot. Some are great in the studio and terrible on stage. Other times, people are just too wasted to perform. And other times it seems like they don’t give a fuck and are inconvenienced by fans who paid money to see them do what has made them popular. (Increasingly, as rap is reaching its fourth decade, age is also becoming a factor. Fuck.)

But when the man clad in a black T reading “Made in the Ghetto” and a black bucket hat ran on stage, you would of thought it was a dude that was eager to get put on. Not someone who has been in the game for more than 15 years. It was as if X had something to prove. And with a spotty can’t-stay-out-of-jail track record as of late, maybe he does. But when DMX took the stage, all his sins were forgiven.

DMX tore it the fuck down. I’m not sure if the fans fed off of X’s energy or if he fed off the fan’s energy. It was probably some of both.

Starting close to midnight, the 45 minute set was full of some of rap’s most celebrated and classic tracks. He climbed the speaker tower to perform the Ruff Ryder anthem, and then took us to church with “Slippin,'” the single that put X on the map, “Get At Me Dog,” “Who We Be,” “We Right Here,” his verse off of Mase’s “24 Hours To Live.” You get the idea.

He commanded the stage – constantly in motion, animated, pouring out an entire bottle of Hennessy in the press pit, barking, growling, serenading the ladies, talking to the audience. DMX did not disappoint. At all. Even if he was crazy late, even if I stood for hours, even if it was only 45 minutes long, it would be hard to say it wasn’t one of the best and most memorable shows I have seen.

Get at me dog.

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