THE LOST GOSPEL OFDMX
[ Cont. from 48] Ron Sweeney, an entertainment lawyer who represented DMX during the early years of his career and who’s now representing his three sons, says the estate is “absolutely not” aligned with Mann on his plan to release the gospel album.
“Howard Mann has no authority that we’re aware of and hasn’t shown us anything to reflect that he owns any music that DMX recorded,” Sweeney says. “He has absolutely nothing to do with the estate and, to the extent that he has DMX’s music, the estate has not authorized the use of DMX’s name and likeness.”
Pat Gallo was “extremely surprised” to learn that anyone other than DMX or himself had any ownership claim to the gospel album. After a number of years without seeing each other following their time in Arizona, Gallo reconnected with DMX in 2015, when the rapper moved back to New York. He began to more formally manage DMX a few years later, and he oversaw the 2019 tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the rapper’s debut. In those years, Gallo and DMX regularly listened to and talked about the gospel songs they’d made together.
DMX wanted to perform the gospel album on a tour of megachurches across the South. His ultimate goal, according to Gallo, was to establish his own church called House of the Afflicted, where he would minister to the homeless, those dealing with addiction, and anyone else that society had neglected. But DMX was waiting until he felt ready to release the album. “He thought he would get a lot of scrutiny. He felt insecure about that,” Gallo says. “He didn’t want to put it out until he got his life together.”
Year after year, even in the midst of his most difficult periods, fans came to see DMX perform. They came for his anthems and his energy, but they also came to hear him pray.
Unlike the other prayers he wrote and recited on his albums, the prayer that DMX recorded for You’ll
Fly With Me Later comes directly from the Bible. Over guitar strumming and soft percussion, he reads from Ephesians 6:10, a passage in which Paul the Apostle provides instructions on how to prepare for spiritual warfare.
“Put on the whole armor of God, so that you might be able to withstand against the wiles of the Devil,” DMX reads, quickly and decisively, in the authoritative tone of someone delivering holy words. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age.”
DMX wrestled with all of the above. At points in his life, the battles he fought were also his main product. Anyone who listened to DMX was invested in his pain, in his comebacks, and in his chaotic falls from grace. For decades, he laid his soul bare in his songs, hoping that by revealing his own wounds he could heal and be healed in turn.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith,” he reads finally, his voice fading into the music behind it.