By now, it was 12:30am. After a stop at a Western Union, DMX lit up a cigarette and stared out the front window. “Let’s go meet some people,” he announced. We drove for 15 minutes and pulled off at the exit for the city of Opa-Locka, one of the rougher neighborhoods in South Florida. We pulled up to a corner store and he jumped out, leaving the car running and the door open. I grabbed the key and locked the doors, and as I walked into the store, three teenage boys in a pick up truck asked me “Where the money at? We know there’s money in that trunk.” They followed me in, and directed the same question at DMX. He looked at the kids and said “I was just about to rob you.”
As we got back in the car, X told me that “in order to speak to the people, you must walk with the people.” We drove around the block to a two-story project, where 30 people of all ages were sitting out in chairs and chilling. DMX sped up and pulled to a screeching stop just feet from some guys sitting on a large blue cooler, then popped out of the car barking—”Arf! What’s up?! What’s up!”—and throwing his hands up in the air. Confusion quickly turned to adulation as people surrounded him for hugs and autographs.
As quickly as we had arrived, we were back on 95 headed for South Beach. X put the hammer down to 140mph. I clicked my seat belt in. “That thing is more likely to kill you than it is to save your life,” he offered. I asked why. “Because if I roll this thing, you might not be able to get out,” adding that the buckle might melt and I wouldn’t be able to get it undone.
The night ended after police chased us across a causeway and DMX escaped them by exiting into a parking lot, where we sat for the next two hours talking about hip-hop and my New Balance shoes, which DMX found to be highly amusing. DMX reminded me of Buns, the character he played in Belly. He was a man with no respect for the law, but who wanted to be pious. A man who confronted his demons, but had yet to conquer them.