“Lord Give Me a Sign” by DMX
When a person is seriously under the impression that they have religious calling on their life, such is not a light matter. Indeed with any other vocation they may take up, there would still be a strong urging to do what they feel the Most High wants them to do.
And such was apparently the case with the late DMX. That would apparently be why in-between tracks about blowing opps to smithereens and bonking females he would drop songs like this (“Lord Give Me a Sign”) which, as noted in a later section of this article, he’s actually been doing since day one.
And when we say “like this” we mean tunes whose lyrics are themed on him having a humbling conversation (i.e. prayer) with God.
Another subtheme throughout his career has been his inner struggles. Thus when X does converse with a Higher Power, it’s usually along the lines of the rapper looking for some type of relief from the conflicts within. And such is the case with “Lord Give Me a Sign”.
Lyrics of “Lord Give Me a Sign”
As revealed in the first verse, the vocalist acknowledges that the “pain and… hurt” which have been a part and parcel of his existence are still present, with no signs of dissipating. And on top of that he doesn’t really feel he has anyone to talk to, which would be one of the reasons why he is resorting to prayer.
But other rappers, such as Tupac for example , have expressed similar sentiments in song. Yet what makes this track really unique is its overt-Christian tone – more so than most of the songs even dropped by actual Christian artists.
DMX refers to “the name of Jesus” in a manner in which it is used throughout the New Testament, as a miraculous appellation which has the power to ‘rebuke the Devil’ for instance. And the reason he’s calling upon Jesus is to intervene in his own life.
Or viewed differently, the vocalist is at the end of his rope as far as his personal outlook is concerned. But he has faith that “the Lord”, if only He responds to his cries, can lead him out of this situation.
And the reason X is under such an impression in the first place is because he has been in similar predicaments in the past where he felt a Higher Power would “hold (him) down”, i.e. save him when no one else would or could.
So DMX wants to know that God still cares, so to speak. But even more to the point is his desire for divine guidance in general. And in this case it doesn’t sound like the artist is just paying lip service, i.e. the token religious track which many artists tend to include on their otherwise secular albums.
Instead X really sees power in the Lord via Jesus. Moreover he knows that the ‘devil is trying to find him’, as in whatever temptations or inner turmoil are plaguing him are not going to let up.
But most-uniquely, X actually perceives himself as an evangelist. Going back to the first paragraph of this post, more than just being an adherent to Christ, DMX believes that he is also one of his emissaries in spirit. But before taking on that role on a practical level, he will need the Lord to teach him the proper way to go about doing so.
Desperate for a Sign
Indeed if there is one underlying theme throughout this song, it is that DMX is faced with some type of dichotomy. Before him is “life or death”, or let’s say for the sake of simplicity good and evil.
And being who he is, regardless of which path he takes, X is gonna keep it real regardless. But that noted, he’s never going to give up trying to do what he feels is right. But actually defeating “death” is obviously not something he believes he can do on his own. Nor is there seemingly any type of earthly power that can properly lead him in the right direction.
So he is leaning on the Lord for “a sign”, presumably some type of divine guidepost which directly speaks to his spirit saying ‘do this’ or ‘don’t do that’. Or put differently, he knows he wants to meet God but evidently doesn’t know the next step he has to take towards actually achieving that goal.
So we can conclude, first of all, by saying that this definitely isn’t the type of song you would commonly hear coming from a hardcore rapper.
DMX can namedrop Jesus all that he wants, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever hear anybody refer to him as a pacifist. He was truly a unique musician who, unlike many of his superstar peers, ultimately came to the realization that yes, there are things far more important than money, women and keeping it ‘hood.
And part of the reason he was humbled in such a manner is because he was naturally conscious,. And on top of that, he had his own perennial demons that walked with him everywhere he went.
But even beyond that, DMX felt he had some type of religious calling which, regardless of him being an A list artist in an industry that doesn’t encourage such, led to him bravely coming out with, shall we say countercultural songs such as this one.
Facts about “Lord Give Me a Sign”
This track is a collaborative product of Columbia Records, Sony Urban and Ruff Ryders Entertainment which came out on 1 August 2006.
That latter label especially was instrumental during the early part of DMX’s 30-year career, as made evident by “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” (1998), one of his most-recognizable singles.
This track was written and produced by Scott Storch, who around the time of its release was one of the hottest names in hip-hop. And the other co-writer, of course, was DMX (1970-2021).
“Lord Give Me a Sign” managed to chart in four countries. In doing so, it made an appearance on two Billboard charts – Bubbling Under Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. And since its release it has also enjoyed a moderate pop media presence.
Is “Lord Give Me a Sign” DMX’s only Religious song?
Dropping his first album in 1998, the hip- classic “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot”, the songs that established DMX earlier in his career were exponentially more violent than this one.
It is those types of tracks, such as the aforenoted “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and 2003’s “X Gon’ Give It to Ya“, which he is primarily known for. However, from the onset of his discography, DMX has been coming with religious songs also, despite the fact that they weren’t released as singles.
For instance, “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” features a skit called “Prayer”. And as its name suggests, the song sees the rapper addressing God (similar to “Lord Give Me a Sign”). And it is followed by a track called “The Convo” which centers on a fictional dialogue X was having with Jesus, if you will.
DMX was one of the hottest rappers in the game around the turn of the century, having served the public with multiple chart topping albums. Actually during the said period he dropped 5 straight albums that topped the Billboard 200.
At one point he was also a budding star in Hollywood itself. He even went as far as co-headlining movies with action A listers Steven Seagal (“Exit Wounds”, 2001) and Jet Li (“Cradle 2 the Grave”, 2003).
And let’s not forget X’s very-first acting job, starring in the ‘hood classic “Belly” (1998), in which he totally represented.
“Lord Give Me a Sign” is from DMX’s sixth-studio album, “Year of the Dog… Again” (2006). The project was in fact a success in that it peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200. It also did top Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, as did also the five albums which preceded it.
A Fading Star
Unfortunately for DMX, “Year of the Dog… Again” proved to be pretty much the last notable album he dropped. And as the years progressed, he became less influential in the music industry, having released his last full-length, “Redemption of the Beast”, in 2015.
And just to note, his long-time supporters, Def Jam Records, also issued a short EP on the day of his passing, 9 April 2021, entitled “A Dog’s Prayers”.
One of the reasons DMX became less viable as far as the mainstream-music industry is concerned would apparently be because he increasingly lost interest in producing the type of songs which fuels it.
In fact at one time, he was so into his ‘Christian calling’ that he became a deacon, with aspirations of becoming a full-fledged pastor.
DMX was born into a broken, abusive home in a crime-infested community. When you combine such factors, the victims often grow up to have serious personal issues themselves.
And in X’s case, his vice was drugs. He got into hard drugs when he was just 14 years of age. And whereas it does seem that he kicked the habit from time to time, the desire to get dangerously high was obviously something that plagued him throughout most of his life.
And as the story goes at the time of the death, the cause of the heart attack which led to X going into a “vegetative” coma was in fact drug abuse.
That being said, DMX’s name isn’t likely to vanish from the Earth anytime soon. For as of 2016, he was the father of 15 children.