Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN invite DMX back to the set. Establishing himself as one of the most successful rap artists of all time with his unprecedented run during the late ‘90s and early aughts, DMX is revered as one of the greatest artists of his generation. After enduring personal turmoil, prison stints, and other setbacks and learning experiences, X has come out of the fire with a few scars, but a renewed vigor for life and is primed for a redemption story that will only add to his legend. Having teamed back up with producer and longtime friend Swizz Beatz, who is working with him to curate his forthcoming studio album, the MC is truly in album mode and appears to be in game shape.
To help give fans a recap of the episode, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the DMX “Drink Champs” episode. Take a look at them below.
1. On The Success of ‘It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot’
One of the first topics of conversation during DMX’s visit with the “Drink Champs” is his historical run in 1998, which saw him release his monstrous debut, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. X speaks on the euphoria that accompanied his early success and how the fanfare exceeded his expectations. “It was an incredible feeling,” he recalls. “Before I got signed or whatever, I figured I’d be happy with a gold album...because of where I was at. I was still in the hood, still in the projects, like, ‘Yo, if I get a gold album, I made it.’ Like, ‘Yeah, I showed these niggas.’ And I don’t remember how long it was, like maybe a couple of weeks after the album dropped, and the picture of my album, it was in brown. Irv put the same picture in silver and put ‘The Streets Have Spoken’ on two whole pages.”
2. On Being Starstruck While Working With Taral Hicks
While dominating 1998 and becoming the first artist two release a pair of chart-topping debuts in the same calendar year, DMX found the time to make his acting debut in the Hype Williams-directed crime drama Belly, which cast him alongside of mix of fellow rap stars and veteran thespians including Taral Hicks, who X admits to being starstruck by the first time they met. “He did the ‘Get At Me Dog’ video and then he got me with Belly,” he says of Hype recruiting him for the role. “I went up to his house and it was just him and Taral Hicks, and I was, like... you know under pressure a little bit ‘cause I had seen her in Bronx Tale and I was like, ‘Yo, if I see shorty, I’ma smash that.’ I think everybody that seen that movie around our age was like, ‘Yo, shorty can get it?’ ...She was fucking with the Italian nigga, Calogero. I was a little intimidated just with the reading of the script with Taral Hicks. She was there, Hype called me to his house to do a reading and, you know, she’s bad as a motherfucker and everybody was just acting cool, and mellow like they ain’t famous. I’m like, ‘Aight, what you want me to do?’ They told me and I was like, ‘Aight.’”
3. On His Relationship With Aaliyah
In 2000, DMX added to his acting portfolio by starring alongside Jet Li and R&B star Aaliyah in the action flick Romeo Must Die, an experience that led to their hit duet, “Come Back in One Piece,” and created a close bond between the two. The Dark Man speaks of his memories of Aaliyah and pulling out all of the stops the time they attended an award show together. “She was a beautiful person, man,” he says of the late talent. “Beautiful person, down to earth, cool as shit, made me feel really comfortable. Like I said, I had that same hesitation when I met up with her and did the movie ‘cause that was my next movie. I was a little nervous, she made me comfortable, we laughed a little bit, like, ‘Okay, all right.’ Kept in touch a little bit, you know what I’m saying? And the awards came up, I saw she was there and I already had something crazy, you know, like, I was getting a Benz, a Ferrari or something. I was like, ‘Nah, I gotta go get the Rolls Royce for this situation. ‘We’re going together? Okay, gotta pull that Rolls out and make everybody mad!’”
4. On Comparisons Between Him and Ja Rule
One of the key factors in the public feud between DMX and Ja Rule was the constant comparisons made of their music by their respective fanbases, which X didn’t take too kindly to. While speaking on their tension, X recalls an encounter with a fan who broached the subject while in Ja’s presence as validation to his accusations of Ja jacking his style. “I guess that might’ve been his first time hearing it without a filter...” he says. “Nobody gonna tell it to your face without a motherfucking filter...and it looked like he aged in that moment. I did the right thing, though, and I feel like I should never have to talk to him about it again because it was proven. It’s not a myth, homie. It’s not me just talking shit, it’s not me being jealous about anything because you still haven’t done what I’ve done. I like you, you my little mans, son. You know what I mean?”
5. On Committing A Robbery With Ja Rule
Prior to their falling out, DMX and Ja Rule were close friends and even robbed an unsuspecting street-merchant outside of a Manhattan studio. “We [even] did a robbery together,” X says. “Police picked him up, everything. It was in the studio in New York. It was in Manhattan... downtown Manhattan somewhere in one of them studios. We robbed the nigga in front of the joint. Nigga tried to sell us a watch, Chinese nigga. I did the robbery nigga shit, ‘Yo, this look like my brother watch,’ punched him in the face, knocked him out, but then we run right in the building, which is like the dumbest shit in the world ‘cause they know we’re there. So, the room that got the big reel-to-reel machines, that’s usually a room that’s closed all the time, you know what I’m saying? Sounds like computers all the time, I went in that joint and hid behind one of the joints. They caught Ja. He had a single, I wasn’t even out yet.”
6. On The Time His Dog Helped Him In A Fight
Outside of Snoop Dogg, when one thinks of canines in hip hop, DMX usually comes to mind. During his sit-own with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, he speaks of the time one of his dogs helped him in a fight. “I just seen him twenty minutes ago,” X says of the spouse of one of his platonic female friends. “What type of nigga do you think I am to see you and then try to fuck your girl, like, twenty minutes later? I thought that would help, [but he was a] country nigga, it didn’t help. I said, ‘Yo, we gonna pull up right here and we gonna get to the bottom of this shit, man.’ I can’t have the nigga talking crazy like that, I’m not that nigga...He came out, I’m like, ‘Yo, homie, you bugging.’ And he’s like, ‘Yo, nigga, you trying to fuck my [girl],’ my dog jumped out the window, came around and got him. I’m like, ‘Yeah, you ain’t see that one coming.’ We fucked that nigga up together. We jumped him together. ‘Yeah, you bitch ass nigga, that’s what you get for thinking I’m a fuck nigga. Fuck outta here, nigga. Your wife is like my sister, nigga, fuck outta here.’”
7. On Meeting Prince
Everybody loves a good story involving Prince, especially the “Drink Champs,” who get DMX to spill the beans on his encounters with the late musical icon. “So, first of all, he used the deep voice when he was talking to me,” DMX shares. “He was like, ‘Come here, brother.’ He had the deep voice and he had the security pull one of these tables, push it up and we’re sitting over here. And he pretty much backed half [of] the club with the table and gave us our space, and talked to me for maybe an hour. In a club... while the music is playing... about owning your masters. He explained how they gave him the symbol. I was fucked up, I was fucked up for a while behind that.”
8. On Falling Out of Love With Hip Hop
A traditionalist at heart, DMX admits to falling out of love with hip hop due to the politics of the industry dictating its direction. “Yes, I did,” he responds when asked if there was a period when he became disenchanted with the culture. “When I started hearing shit, seeing shit that wasn’t reputable or respectful getting points. You can get points, there’s always gonna be a Vanilla Ice or a one song ass nigga, [but] that paper bag, payola, that shouldn’t be a part of it. If that was a part of it, I would’ve been famous a long time ago. DJs got respect, DJs were loved because they played the new hot [shit]. You played what you wanted to play. Y’all played what y’all thought was hot and that’s what nattered. All you had to do was impress the DJ. The DJ’s like, ‘Oh, [I’ll play this]’ because the DJ knows what it’s gonna do in the club.”
9. Hollywood Hino On Transitioning From Professional Boxing To Personal Training
Prior to training megastars like Drake, Beyoncé, Kevin Hart, others, Hollywood Hino earned his keep as a professional boxer, but chose to keep close ties to his roots when delving into his second career. “After I retired [from] pro boxing in 2009, I just said, ‘What am I gonna do next?’ he explains. “Should I be a referee? Do I be a judge ‘cause I could’ve done any of that? But, it had to relate to boxing ‘cause that’s all I’ve known my whole life. So then, I just thought about doing the training thing. I said, ‘I have all this knowledge, all of these years [of experience], I might as well pass it down to the people that wanna learn.’”