The Big Q&A: DMX's 1st Jailhouse Interview: Hating Rap Trends, Ja-Rule, Issues w/ Jay-Z and More (Pt.2) presents part 2 of our exclusive interview with incarcerated rapper DMX. The multi-platinum selling artist is set be released to the free world early next month and plans to hit the ground running with a new album and reality show. Read on for more on X's thoughts on today's rap game, Ja-Rule, his issues with Jay-Z and more.—Mikey Fresh




Have any rappers reached out to you while you were away want to work when you get home or to just give you some support? 
Yeah. Swizz, Busta, Dame Grease,it’s like when it happens it is appreciated, but I don’t dwell on it. I’m like ‘Oh that’s wassup. Tell him I said what up too’ and I let it go. I pretty much got a lot of people in my corner. I’m the People’s Champ.  Oh ,that was another [album] title I was gonna use too, The People’s Champ. 

Is it weird seeing the rap game now and seeing most of your peers that you came in the game with just not around anymore? 
I’m not gonna disrespect anybody or shout anybody out, but it’s sad the shit I’m seeing here. All we got is 106 & Park in jail. And it’s like ‘wow, this is the Top 10?’ Like really? I know it’s really not the Top 10, but it’s their Top 10. Damn yo, that’s not a good look. Not a good look at all. I do like Nicki Minajhow she getting at em. Haven’t heard the album, but the couple of singles I’ve heard—“Did It On Em,” you know what I’m saying? That “Boom boom boom.” Some shit, “Bang”whatever. I like her style. And Kiss got a new joint too that I’m feeling. 

Speaking of Nicki, how are you feeling about Lil Wayne and Drake?
Hmmm…no comment. I don’t like Drake. It’s nothing that he did to me, He actually is talented. He’s very talented.  

So you’re just not feeling his music then? 
Yeah, I don’t like him. It ain’t nothing personal. I don’t like his stuff. He is talented. He has a little wordplay here and there, but when I see him and here him it’s like—‘Money, I’m not rockin with that.’ 

It feels like right now in hip-hop a lot of people are saying the hardcore gangsta rap element is dead. Do you feel like that’s true?
They try to block it out.  But that’s what rap is. It’s not about disrespecting, but it’s the voice of the voiceless. Before I tell you what it is. To me, it isn’t tight sweaters. That’s not what rap is. That’s not hip-hop at all. Every phase went through changing up their dress styles and all that, but since Run DMC came out it’s been baggy jeans. That has not changed. So all this shit they doing now, tryna spark something new, that’s basically what it is. Tryna spark something new to get people to say yeah--to stake the claim as the innovators. The creators. Like, ‘yeah we started this so we must be hip-hop because everybody’s doing it.’ No! You got a few little motherfuckers following you, doing the same shit, but that’s not what it is man.

[Laughs] But I mean fashion has to evolve just like the music, no?
Yeah, the fucking skinny jeans and tight sweaters! Those are baby clothes. What are you shopping at Baby Gap??? [Laughs]

[Laughs] It’s just what people want to do now. Even some of the older rappers--they’re all getting their clothes tighter now?
You know, its cause they’re just following. They just want to fit in. They want to look like they’re younger I guess. Like I said, one thing about ‘real’ is that it doesn’t change. The truth doesn’t change. It was the same when Moses got the Ten Commandments as it is today. That’s the thing about the truth. That’s the thing about real. It doesn’t change and it doesn’t have to change. Now you can put it in a different book, but it’s still real. It’s still the truth. And that’s what I’m bringing to the table.

So I guess when X comes home, it’s still gonna be baggy jeans and Timbs. You’re not going to see X dancing around in some tight jeans.  

I think I’m gonna wear Timberlands until I die man. They may not be the hottest thing out, but Timbs keep reinventing themselves. They keep coming up with the new colors, the different bubbles, now you can get your name on them. Timbs is still on fire right now! 

Still killing it.
Yeah! And that’s all II do not own a pair of sneakers or shoes.

Word? Not even Air Force Ones?
No, none of that. I put on a pair of sneakers when I came to jail. They gave me these sneakers. Then, I felt like retarded. I felt retarded just having a pair of sneakers on in at least 10 years.

So I guess you’re not really influenced by anything current in hip-hop?
Yeah. It’s like normally, when I’m in the streets, I don’t look at videos. I don’t go to concerts. Nas is the only person whose concert I been to.  I don’t go to showsI don’t want to be influenced by what someone else is doing. I don’t want to be influenced by anything that anyone is doing. I want to be influenced by the people.

Then where do you still draw inspiration from?
From the people! I walk amongst the people. I hear what their complaints are. I hear what they like. They tell me what they’re looking for. I can be hanging out with about 7 or 8 guys and we’ll see something and I’ll be like ‘aight so I was right in thinking that not to go that way.’ I get to stay on the same page as the fans, because I walk amongst the fans. You can’t speak for the people unless you’re able to walk amongst the people.  And how many of these rappers out here actually hang out with regular people.

Probably none.
Exactly! But I do. People see me in the mall. I might have one or two dudes with me, but they ain’t no rappers. I talk to my fans and because I’m easy to talk to, they feel comfortable in telling me what they’re looking for. ‘X when you gonna come out with this’, ‘X, you need to come out with something like this’I hear it all the time about how they don’t like the skinny jeans and the shit that’s on the radio right now.

It seems like now, rappers are really making a trend of coming in and out of jail. I don’t know if you heard but Prodigy just came home, T.I.’s locked up right now.
How long did Prodigy do?

Prodigy did almost 3 ½ on a gun charge. He just came home. 
And Ja just went in, right?

Yup. Have you had any contact with him? I know you guys had some issues in the past.
Yeah since we had issues, we’ve had contact. But I saw him at the VH1 hip-hop Honors.

Yeah I saw there was a picture of you, Foxy, and Ja altogether.
Yeah. It was like, I was sitting in the front and his wife was behind me. And I looked back and I spoke to her. And when I turned around againactually I was getting up to leave and he was sitting there. So people were already looking at us and knew that I didn’t know he was behind me. It was quiet. So when I turned around and seen him, I could feel all the eyes on me. And I was like ‘Yo watup man’ and gave him a pound and everybody started clapping.

Did you guys have any more words?



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D'Angelo And Maxwell Were Originally Scheduled For A 'Verzuz' Battle

It's no secret. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have been working hard to pair up some of hip-hop and R&B's biggest stars for their Verzuz celebratory battles. To date, the duo has successfully hosted 24 of these events on Instagram Live and their streaming partner, Apple Music. Now, what you rarely hear about are the matches that could have been. In a live conversation following D'Angelo's damn-near-solo set—that many R&B lovers didn't know they needed—Swizz Beatz and Timbaland revealed how the soulful crooner was originally scheduled to take part in Verzuz alongside fellow "neo-soul" singer Maxwell.

"I'm not gonna lie. That sh*t took very long. Let's give people the story," starts Swizz. "What was supposed to happen was D'Angelo versus Maxwell on Valentine's Day. That didn't work out, but the fact that D'Angelo was still ready to go and still motivated, we had to celebrate him— matter who was on stage with him. We had to celebrate that king because, as you can see, those songs that he played tonight, man, that's real music."

He continues: "This is a celebrational stage and we couldn't play around with him. We had to let him get his garden because he showed up and showed out. That man pulled up to Verzuz three hours early. D'Angelo was the earliest person in Verzuz history tonight so don't get him showing up [at] the time he did mixed up with the pre-show which was by DJ Scratch."

Message received, but could you imagine how many more ladies would've gotten their lives on that night of love? Can you imagine the attempted falsetto singing done by viewers on that special and rare night? It would've been nice to see D'Angelo and Maxwell on the same bill, that's for sure.

Watch Swizz and Timbo talk about the match that could have been while clearing the air about D'Angelo's start-time at around the 4-minute and 20-second mark of the video below.


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Rapper Bobby Shmurda poses backstage at Power 105.1's Powerhouse 2014 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 30, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Power 105.1

Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.


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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

Bobby Shmurda on facetime with his mom after being released from prison

— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."


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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"


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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.


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