Fabled rapper DMX will be sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to tax fraud, which is what happens when you avoid 1.7 million dollars in taxes over the course of five years. His prosecutors, who are not likely to be diehard RR fans, are seeking a five-year prison sentence for the rapper, suggesting U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff send a message that “star power does not entitle someone to a free pass."
X’s legal team will attempt to portray him in a more positive light. And in doing so, will play a handful of the rapper’s songs for the judge. Given X's colorful lyrical history, it’s a bold tactic. So which of the rapper’s songs could land him the sentence he desires? Let's run a legal analysis of some candidates...
What’s My Name
For starters, his real name is Earl Simmons, which I'm not sure he ever mentions in the song. I’m also going to go ahead and count this one out on the count of the intro. Though the lyrics** “I’m not a nice person” and “Suck my dick” also do not help legal matters very much.
**I should note that, while profane, these are two of my very favorite DMX lyrics. His ability to put an empathetic emphasis on words like “not” and “nice” and “suck” and “dick” are uncanny. Listen to the song and tell me you don’t want to go shout those two things at someone as unfitting and irrational as it may seem. It is true art.
Ruff Ryders’ Anthem
DMX’s most certified banger also happens to hold one of his most profound set of lyrics:
Home of the brave,
My home is a cage,
And yo, I'm a slave,
Till my home is a grave.
They are words that rattle especially important and true in the heart of 2018. Yet the vast majority of the song is riddled with countless confessions of murder, robbery and extortion.
This one could go either way. At the very least it serves as an outstanding court entrance song.
What These Bitches Want
As fantastically Sisqo as this track may be, the second verse is dedicated entirely to listing the names of all the women he’s slept with, including a woman named Cookie whom he met at an ice cream parlor (which is a pretty cute story coming from X). I’m just not sure a lengthy sex list is going to impress Judge Rakoff very much unless Judge Rakoff is a bit of a horny sleazebag. This one’s out.
This one is OK if X’s lone intent is to terrify everyone in the room into letting him off the hook, as it is by and large the most violent and heinous song of his career. It is so profane, in fact, that I cannot in good conscience post one single lyric aside from the song’s hook, which poses an eerie, direct warning to those who cross him:
1, 2, X is comin' for you,
3, 4, you better lock your door,
5, 6, get your crucifix,
7, 8, don't stay up late.
X Gon’ Give It To Ya
X will 100 percent, without-a-doubt not be giving anyone anything in his court sentencing tomorrow. This one’s a capital N-O.
Where the Hood At
How’s It Goin’ Down
The inappropriate nature of the telephone call intro (not included in the music video) again chucks this one out the window of opportunity. But let’s at least take a minute to acknowledge what a great, under-appreciated song this is. Wow—Faith Evans, X hanging in the pocket for the entirety of the track, this lyric:
“Knew she was a thug ‘cause when I met her she had a scarf on.”
The term scarf in this instance is most likely a reference to a gang-affiliated bandana, but I’m willing to bet the money in my bank account Judge Rakoff doesn’t know shit about that. He might be able to slide this one past him as a sign of his softer more adorable side. But again: risky.
This is arguably DMX’s most honest, introspective and self-aware song from top to bottom. So much so that his lawyers have already stated they’ve sent the judge lyrics to the track. It makes sense, as Slippin’ is not only universally relatable but also the absolute best viable play in their back pocket.
Whether his legal team’s unique ploy is effective remains to be seen. But I’m pulling for DMX. And I’m pulling for every person who nods their head accordingly as every single classic gets boomed out in that courtroom.