DMX Said Prince ‘Schooled’ Him About the Music Industry
During an appearance on the Drink Champs podcast - originally released in February 2021, but making the rounds online again now due to the rapper’s recent death - DMX recalled his memorable conversation with the Purple One.
The chance meeting took place in 2000 while the rapper was filming the action flick Exit Wounds in Toronto. At night, DMX and his friends would sample the city’s nightlife. “We’re at a club. And Prince comes in with this big security guard,” he recalled.
The Purple One, who duetted with frequent DMX collaborator Eve on 1999's "Hot Wit' U," quickly recognized the rapper and motioned for him to come over.
“He pretty much backed half the club up with a table and gave us our space,” DMX explained. “And talked to me for about maybe an hour, in a club, while music is playing, about owning your masters.”
Prince had long been an advocate for artists owning their masters, famously telling Rolling Stone in 1996: “If you don’t own your masters, your master owns you.” At that time, the music icon was embroiled in a public battle with his record label, Warner Brothers. By 2000, he’d taken complete creative control of his career and was eager to share his wisdom with other musicians.
“He explained the symbol and everything,” DMX recalled, alluding to the period where Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol. “[Prince] sat down and schooled me. I felt like a little kid. I felt like my grandfather smacked the shit out of me, like ‘What the fuck is wrong with you?’”
The experience was eye-opening for DMX, who at the time was one of the biggest stars signed to Def Jam Records. Sadly, the rapper never got his finances under control, filing for bankruptcy three times between 2009 and 2016.
Still, DMX was clearly moved by his interaction with Prince, calling him the “person that blew me away the most.” “Prince was gangsta,” the rapper declared.