Calling New York Post reporter, Sarah Paynter, a "Karen" — a catchall term for white women behaving poorly — would be the easy way out when terms like "Ether" and the "Takeover" exist in the Hip-Hop lexicon. Why? Both she and the New York Post thought it was a good idea to run a story under the headline, "DMX and the houses he's lost during his rap career."
Considering that it would be in poor taste at any juncture of a human beings life, it seems especially insensitive given the fact that DMX is currently laying in a hospital bed on life support, and his fans around the world have held candlelight vigils in his honor.
Shame on you all ....— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) April 7, 2021
As one might expect, there has been immense criticism about just how tone deaf the editorial is. In fact, Ms. Paynter has seemingly scrubbed any traces of herself from the web — sensing blowback — but the article remains live and was updated as recently as 8:30 PM on April 6.
On one side, there's a woman facing being cancelled, and on the other, there's a media brand drawing the line in the sand under the guise of "Freedom of the Press."
While it would be easy to jump to anger, Rock The Bells is committed to uplifting Hip-Hop culture, while entities like the New York Post — and other music-focused publications — like to play the role of quicksand. As a result, people should continue to channel their thoughts and prayers for DMX and his family.
In Hip-Hop, we tend to give people their flowers only after they're gone. We saw that with Biggie and Pac, and have continued to see it with contemporary acts like Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke. Newspapers even have obituaries written for 100's to 1000's of public figures to uphold quality and timeliness. While macabre, it does make sense. But in the case of the New York Post, they seem to be preemptively eulogizing DMX with missteps that no man or woman is immune from. Yet, when they wrote about Rush Limbaugh's death, they didn't find it appropriate to bring up the time he compared a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton to a dog, or mocked Michel J. Fox's Parkinson's disease. You can't have it both ways. You can't both hurl mud, and also serve ice cream.
If you love Hip-Hop, you already know about Public Enemy's 1991 song, "A Letter to the New York Post," which Chuck D called, "America's oldest continuously published daily piece of bullshit." The newspaper has been irrelevant for decades. We shouldn't have expected any reverence for DMX, but we at least thought they wouldn't stoop this low by presenting a cultural icon as a deadbeat. It not only devalues X's contributions, but it positions Hip-Hop as a genre where diamonds are treated like fugazi's.
People who are kings and queens of classic Hip-Hop have more years under their belts than newer acts. And as this past year has shown us all, life isn't always easy. While people can accept the rags to riches stories that elevate people from poverty to wealth through hustling, they aren't so forgiving when it comes any ups and downs afterwards. In fact, it's been reveled that our brains release dopamine when something bad happens to someone we envy. Fat Joe even told us, Jealous Ones Still Envy. It seems Mrs. Paynter wants to throw stones, and is envious that DMX lived in so many glass houses.
Let's not cancel her, the Post, or anyone else. Let's big up DMX. His very imperfections — resulting in classics like "Slippin" and "Look Thru My Eyes" — are what make him so special.
He talked about his kids, he has a lot of kids. He worried about them and told me how much he enjoyed being a father returning again to stories of his grandmother and her influence in his life and as a parent.— jen fraser (@jenniferfraser) April 6, 2021
He talked about her illness, cancer.
He talked about his faith.
A lady named Jen Fraser shared an interaction she had with DMX on an airplane. The entire thread is joyous, uplifting, and also sad. Its a reminder that rappers don't just exist on cassette, wax, CD, or MP3's. They have lives beyond the liner notes. What the Post failed to realize, is that DMX's music was that much greater because he didn't hide the pain. He actually embraced it.
Header photo courtesy of Jonathan Mannion