The past week was a reminder of DMX’s impact on the world. His passion and authenticity resonated with millions across the world but the direct impact he had on those around him speaks volumes. Ruff Ryders MC Drag-On was a pivotal member of the collective’s rise in hip-hop and its domination throughout the late 90s and the early 2000s. In the wake of X’s passing, Drag-On offered a poignant reflection on his relationship with DMX who he said he was closer to than anyone else in the crew.
“I loved every artist, but me and DMX were always the tightest. We really looked at each other like brothers. It’s crazy, too, because at the time I actually looked like I could have been his little brother,” explained Drag-On to Rolling Stone. Their chemistry on wax was an extension of their personal relationship. Drag-On said that he met X at a studio where they began battling. That became how he ended up a Ruff Ryder.
“Of course, I lost the battle. But he respected me, because I kept coming at him. X used to battle, like, 10 people by himself, and literally make them stop one by one. For me, being 17, and not really knowing I was in a battle until toward the end, I just kept coming at him, and he felt my hunger and felt my pain. He was the one that put the stamp on me: ‘I’m not going to front. I want this little dude right here.’ That’s how I became Ruff Ryders,” said Drag-On.
The pair had collaborated on a few instances but it was “For My Dogs” off of It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot that served as a breakout moment. He explained that it was only the second song he had recorded in his life but X’s faith in him earned him a spot on the multi-platinum selling album. “Being in the studio with DMX was a great experience. Your pen had to be moving, and you had to be aggressive with it, and you really had to be about your shit. There was no playing games. He was real strict,” Drag-On recalled about working in the studio with X.
“Like on “No Love 4 Me,” he’d say, ‘Drag, we’re gonna rap like this: ‘If I’m gonna rob, I’ma rob all night…’’ And then I had to do the same thing: ‘You fuckin’ with me, ain’t keepin’ your health right…’ He’d say, ‘I need you to rap this way, or you can’t get on the song,’ It was structure and it was love and it was passion,” he said.
Following Rolling Stone’s article, Drag-On took to Instagram where he shared a tearful response to news of X’s death while thanking his fans for checking in on him and apologizing for holding back on a tribute until now.
“Dog was my protector my brother my family,, tho certain mfs was mad at the chemistry we had in the booth but when ever we saw each other it was alway genuine,, I will forever be your little brother … and I wish you didn’t leave me bro ,, cause now I’m really down here by my self in this industry,, I don’t have any brothers or sisters so you was my only brother,” he wrote.
Check out the full tribute from Drag-On here.