Seeing as how DMX is getting ready to put out his next album, Here We Go Again, on July 19, you're probably thinking you must've misunderstood him when he announced he was giving up the mic.
In March 2003, X said It's Not a Game would be his final album, and that he was leaning toward becoming a preacher (see "DMX Retiring From Hip-Hop, Plans To Read His Bible"). Well he was, and DMX still feels he'll be talking from the pulpit one day. X changed his mind about retiring from rap, though, after a conversation with Mase, a longtime friend who went that same route six years ago (see "Mase Clears The Air About Diddy, DMX And Jay-Z").
"I was ready to do that," X said last week in Miami about declaring his permanent estrangement from rap. "I talked to Mase. I said, 'Dog! I'm fed up with this rap sh--. I know the Lord. I know my true calling is to preach the Word, where do I go from here?' He was like, 'As long as the Lord gives you the talent to do what you do, do it. He'll call you when he's ready. He'll call you when he's ready.' "
X says Pastor Mason Betha made so much sense to him that he picked the mic back up.
"Just 'cause I'm dealing with fake mutha----as [in the music industry], what gives me the right to say, 'I don't wanna do this no more' and walk away?" X elaborated. "I've been through worse than that. I can deal with fake sh--. I'm gonna do this as long as I can, and when [God] is ready for me, he'll call me. It wasn't my place to retire."
X said the title of his new album is self-explanatory. He wrote Here We Go Again while traveling to Africa, New York, Miami, Germany, London and his favorite place to record, Arizona.
"I have some property in Arizona," he said. "I love the vibe, the desert, but it's still a night life, still a 'hood [out there]. It keeps me grounded."
He dealt heavily in hip-hop "X-cesses" during the shooting of his new video, which is a combination clip that cuts into three Here We Go tracks: "Walk These Dogs," "Give 'Em What They Want" and "Pump Ya Fist." For a portion of the clip, Scott Storch, who produced "Give 'Em What They Want," lent X his mansion. At another location featured in the video, DMX and Swizz Beatz, who made the track for "Pump Ya Fist," got onstage.
"This is a straight rap video," he said. "I get to be a rapper in a video. I did the mansion scene, the driving scene, the girl-in-the-club scene. I do all the things rappers do in the videos in this one."