Watch rare footage of the epic DMX ‘bodega’ freestyle
(Credit: Mika-photography)

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Watch rare footage of the epic DMX 'bodega' freestyle

DMX once performed a legendary freestyle in a bodega. However, few know what a bodega is. You will undoubtedly know what a bodega is if you’re from New York. Bodegas can be found in all corners of the city. The term refers to a small corner store usually run by someone of Hispanic origin. The slang word first arose in the city when immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean settled in New York City after world war two.

They are known for selling brands and foods you can’t find in regular American grocery stores. There is no UK or Canadian equivalent, though in areas such as Lambeth and Southwark in London, it’s not unfamiliar to find an “Afro-Caribbean Market,” they are far larger and are not dotted everywhere in the city.

Although bodegas can be found anywhere in the five boroughs, there is an extremely high concentration of bodegas in the Bronx, Washington Heights and East Harlem. These are the neighbourhoods known for having a high number of LatinX residents, with the latter referred to as “Spanish Harlem.” If you visit a bodega, you can usually find a cat. Kept by the owners, they are there to keep away any rodents that might sneak their way into the shop looking for food.

Bodegas appear a lot in hip-hop stories, Big Pun met Fat Joe outside a Bodega. As both are Nuyoricans, it is hardly as a surprise that the two met outside a Bronx bodega. Furthermore, A$AP Ferg shot part of his video for ‘Doe Active’ in a Hamilton Heights bodega. Even Lil Uzi Vert made a cameo in the video. The rapper also gave HotNewHipHop a tour of the Bodega. Azealia Banks conducted her first ever photo shoot in a Bodega on Nagle Avenue in Inwood, so it is fair to say New Yorkers (especially those from the Bronx and Harlem) have an affinity for bodegas.

With that being said in the 1990s, the late Yonkers rapper DMX performed a freestyle in a Bronx bodega. DMX operated from the Bronx throughout his career as it was where Ruff Ryders Entertainment was based. The clip, less than a minute, shows the musician’s (real name Earl Simmons’) lyrical versatility and his ability to create complex rhyme schemes. You can see the rare footage in the video below.