Hip-hop legend DMX shared the tragic story of how his crack addiction began during an interview on Talib Kweli's People's Party podcast earlier this month.
The rap icon broke down when describing how his very first raps were inextricably tied to being tricked into using crack at the young age of 14 by one of his closest mentors.
"I'm in Yonkers, I come home from being in these institutions from age 7 to 14 and this guy Ready Ron was like an older brother to me. He would rap and I would do the beatbox. I looked up to him like an older brother. I loved him like an older brother. I didn't have any brothers," DMX said before beginning to cry.
Ready Ron suggested DMX write raps too and DMX proceeded to write his first rhymes.
"This guy, he introduced me to what would be the best part of my life, which would be the rap, but I was also blessed with a curse. The curse aspect of it was, I didn't smoke cigarettes, I didn't smoke weed, I didn't do anything. I was 14 years old," the rapper said.
"Me and my mans did a robbery one night and it was his birthday and we came back and were splitting the money. He came back with a blunt rolled up and he passed it around. I hit the blunt and I was no longer focused on the money. It f**ked me up. I never felt like that before. I later found out he laced the blunt with crack," DMX added as he cried.
"Why would he do that to a child? He was like 30 and he knew I looked up to him. Why would you do that to someone who looks up to you? A monster was born. I wouldn't do that to my worst enemy. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, especially from someone who supposedly loves you," DMX said. "The person that I loved was a snake. He acted like a good person. He acted like he loved me."
The comment section of the YouTube video is full of people thanking DMX for sharing his story and others sharing their own struggles with addictions to crack.
DMX is one of music's highest selling artists ever and is one of the few artists to not only release two chart-topping albums in one year but also have his first five albums reach number one on the Billboard charts.
His drug addiction led to a number of stints in prison and he said he is still working through his problems and focusing on his sobriety.
But he noted that he was only able to come to terms with what happened to him through speaking about it, adding that it is still difficult for men to reach the point where they can verbalize their trauma in order to move past it.
"There were things in my childhood that I just blocked out, but there's only so much you can block out before you run out of space," he said. "You never know when the things you stored away are going to spill out. I had to deal with the things that hurt me that I didn't deal with."
DMX has written about his first experience with crack in a number of songs, but this is one of the first times he has spoken at length about how his early crack addiction was tied to his earliest rap memories.
"I didn't really have anyone to talk to about it because you know, in the hood, nobody wants to hear that," he told Kweli. "Nobody wants to help with talking because so often talking about your problems is viewed as a sign of weakness when its actually one of the bravest things you can do. One of the bravest things you can do is put it on the table and chop it up and let it out."