How DMX helped Jay-Z perfect his style
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How DMX helped Jay-Z perfect his style

Jay-Z is considered by many to be one of the best lyricists of all time. With exceptional lyrical ability and extraordinary versatility, the Brooklyn rapper (real name Shawn Carter) has dominated hip-hop for over two decades.

However, despite currently being considered one of the best MCs to touch the mic, in an interview with LeBron James on his HBO series The Shop: Uninterrupted, Carter revealed that it was the late Ruff Ryders rhymer DMX who made him perfect his style and up his game. 

Carter took James and his co-hosts back to 1999 when Jay was on his Hard Knock Life tour with DMX. Even though he loved and respected the Yonkers artist (real name Earl Simmons), Jay-Z admitted that he felt immense pressure to match the late rapper’s larger-than-life stage presence.

Recounting their friendly rivalry, Carter unveiled, “There was a competitive thing, but it was big love. He was so competitive with me. I never met a human being more competitive with me, like ever, not even my big brother.”

Carter detailed the first night of the tour, stating, “First night. 360 sold out. Everyone has a great show. Method Man is flying in the audience—incredible performance. Everyone’s destroying it. X is about to go on, and I’m like, ‘I wanna see.'”

Simmons went on stage before Jay and completely blew him away. Reflecting on DMX’s performance, Carter detailed, “X is going before me. And then he goes [growls], and the f*cking arena goes crazy. First of all, it’s deafening, and I’m like, ‘Oh sh*t.'”

He continued to explain how DMX riled up the crowd by taking his shirt off halfway through the set and drinking an alcoholic drink that “looked like blood, like he’s drinking blood.”

He then recalled the moment the ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’ rapper brought the crowd to tears, recounting, “First the guys are going crazy, now the girls are going crazy. And then he gets to the end, and he starts a prayer. And now they’re crying; the whole arena is crying. And they’re like, ‘OK, now you go.’ [Then] I was like, ‘OK I have to figure out my space in this. I have to figure out where do I exist.'”

Following the tour and the competitive nature of their friendship, Jay revealed he then proceeded to up his game. You can listen to Jay-Z speaking about Simmons in the video below.