Tuesday, December 09, 2014

THE JUKEBOX HERO HYMNAL: Hymn 005: Lord Give Me A Sign by DMX

When he’s not acting in movies or getting arrested, Earl Simmons, aka DMX, is busy being one of the best selling musical artists of all time. From 1998 to 2003, DMX released five consecutive albums which debuted at number one. That’s a pretty impressive achievement, especially considering DMX’s chosen genre is hardcore rap. Wikipedia explains the content of hardcore rap this way: 

“Hardcore hip hop reflective lyrical themes include partying, braggadocio, crime, violence, sex, nudity, wrath, poverty, menacing, omen, rebellion, profanity, racism, drugs, weapons, resentment, ghettos, gangs, social issues, consciousness, struggling, nihilism, distrusting, life, death, police brutality, and the harsh experiences of the rapper's urban surroundings.”

Yow. I’m fairly certain the contents of that list break more than ten commandments. But as comprehensive as it is, there’s one subject not shown that DMX often covers in his songs; God. As AllMusic’s Steve Huey says about DMX’s lyrics, “He could move from spiritual anguish one minute to a narrative about the sins of the streets the next, yet keep it all part of the same complex character, sort of like a hip-hop Johnny Cash.”

You see, during one of his many times as a guest in one of our government’s fine correctional institutes, DMX started to read the Bible and envision his future in a different light. In an interview with Christian Today, the rapper stated that his time in jail “has gotten me closer… to realizing, to actualizing my true calling in life, which is to be a pastor.”

Oh sure, given his recent troubles, he’s not quite preacher material yet, but we’re all works in progress, aren’t we? Let’s be charitable and say that DMX, like so many others, is still trying to find his way. “Lord Give Me A Sign” may start with a defiant quote from Isaiah 54:17, but by the end, it’s the cry of a man who just wants to know what God wants from him. We’ve all been there.

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and truth. Turn to me, be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the son of your handmaid. Give me a sign of your favor: make my enemies see, to their confusion, that you, Lord, help and comfort me. (Psalms 86: 15-17, NABRE)”

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