The 1 Album That Really Impacted DMX as a Kid: ‘I Actually Shed Tears’

DMX is being fondly remembered across the globe for his meaningful contributions to hip-hop, and many are taking a moment to appreciate his down-to-earth nature and openness.

The rapper often spoke candidly about his childhood and some of the heartbreaking realities he lived through, but there were certain things that brought him comfort. Music was one of them.

For DMX, there was one Michael Jackson album that influenced him as an artist.

DMX performing, 2012
DMX performs at the DGK Agenda Party at Cafe Sevilla on January 5, 2012 in Long Beach, California | Jerod Harris/WireImage/Getty Images

Michael Jackson ‘Off the Wall’ album was special to DMX

Not only was DMX a talented artist, but also a huge music fan. One of his favorite singers was Michael Jackson, and there are plenty of videos on the internet with him dancing and singing to the King of Pop’s songs.

A recent Instagram video shared by DMX’s fiancee Desiree Lindstrom shows him rocking along to “This Place Hotel (aka Heartbreak Hotel)” in a car.

But among his favorite of Jackson’s albums was the classic Off the Wall. He spoke about how it was the first album he ever owned and the special meaning of it during a 2012 interview with The BoomBox.

“I was in an institution called Andrews Children’s Home and I packed everything because I was going away, and my friend was like, ‘Here, take this with you.’ And it was Michael Jackson,” he said. DMX explained they had a record player at the group home and he “played the grooves off that record.”

He praised Jackson as a musical genius and talked about what his music meant to him. “I remember as soon as I heard it, I was like, ‘You’ve got to be f*cking kidding me. I actually shed tears right then and there. I’ve been a Michael Jackson fan,” he added.

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DMX was open about his difficult childhood and music’s impact

DMX’s living situation as a kid wasn’t always stable. He spoke about his mother physically abusing him and in his Behind the Music documentary, shared how she dropped him off at a group home called Children’s Village. It was one of many institutions where he spent time.

Later, he went on to live with his beloved grandmother, whom he referred to as the one person who really loved him unconditionally. But music helped him cope.

DMX spoke to Rolling Stone about his love for Michael Jackson and other artists whose music made him feel. He named Bill Withers and said Atlantic Starr’s “Silver Shadow” predicted his life.

“A woman lived on the ground floor and she always played music really loud. I stopped right in my tracks. If you hear the words to that song, you’d know how it predicted my life to me. I’d been doin’ the beatbox before that, but that’s when I started writin’ seriously,” he told the outlet.

And DMX beautifully summed up the meaning of music when he chatted with New York’s News 4 back in 2015.

“Music has taught me how to feel. Music has taught me how to interpret. Music has taught me how to touch. I love music. I am music. I am a part of music,” he said.

Fans can stream DMX’s most recent projects — which include a Verzuz celebration and Ruff Ryders documentary — on the web.