by Leor Galil
Sure, that video is great; not only does DMX gleefully embrace a kitschy idea, but he performs the tune with such sincerity he practically makes the song his own. And yet I have the nagging suspicion that the whole thing is just a ruse to get folks to think about DMX more often than they normally might, a well-executed plan to generate viral content with the explicit intent to push a rapper's brand under the guise of a goofy YouTube clip.
This isn't the MC's first viral rodeo: a clip unofficially called "DMX Vs. Computer," which featured lots of shots of the rapper's bemused reaction to Googling his name for the first time (at least, that's what we're told), started making the rounds back in September. Just like the visuals for his "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" performance, the "Googling" clip garnered plenty of buzz on the Web—but it probably inspired a lot more Facebook posts littered with "LOLs" and jokes about rapper's computer skills.
The timing of the "DMX Vs. Computer" video was also perfect as it began circulating a week after the former Ruff Ryders rapper dropped his seventh proper album, Undisputed; that record didn't have the kind of viral traction that the visuals of the rapper's reaction to Google did, but at least the album became a footnote in a popular story about DMX.
DMX's two recent stints in somewhat-noteworthy videos have a lot more in common than their popularity—namely, those clips appear to have been filmed on the exact same date. When the "Rudolph" clip hit the Web Grantland staff writer Rembert Browne made the astute observation that both videos take place at Power 105.1, they both show DMX talking to the same person, and in the "Rudolph" clip everyone onscreen happens to be wearing the very items of clothing they wore in the previous video:
Unless these are the only clothes that these two individuals own, THESE TWO MOMENTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY TOOK PLACE ON THE SAME DAY.
It all makes me question the intent of the clips. I don't doubt DMX's sincerity—that is, for the moment—but I have to wonder if the folks at Power 105.1 knew how good the videos would be for DMX. The release of the "Rudolph" clip certainly puts the rapper's name back on the proverbial marquee just around the time that music outlets begin to roll out their "best of 2012" lists; true, Christmas is coming up, so the holiday jingle fits the time of year, but the conspiracy theorist in me makes me wonder if perhaps the folks at Power 105.1 collaborated with DMX's people to try and boost the sales numbers for Undisputed via viral videos that subliminally sell the rapper's brand.
That's probably not true, but it's certainly a lot more fun to think of DMX as a savvy marketing genius and brilliant character actor than a relic of late 90s and early 2000s rap. At least his take on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is enjoyable.