Thankfully, that period also gave rise to its Ryan Reynolds-starring 2016 spinoff “Deadpool” (and a sequel in 2018) with an R-rated, dark, violent, dirty joke-filled, laugh-a-minute experience at the theaters that practically put the X back in X-Men.
And when the time came to give a glimpse of what “Deadpool” was all about before its theatrical release, it wasn’t Reynolds’s anti-hero setting the tone, it was another X-Man.
“X Gon’ Give It to Ya,” the forever-banger released in 2003 from the legendary New York-born rapper Earl Simmons, a.k.a. DMX, who passed away last week at the age of 50, was the song chosen to introduce the classically comical Marvel Comics character to the superhero movie-loving world.
Never have a song and a superhero been so symbiotic.
When DMX first arrived on the musical scene, his deep, gravelly, growling flow cast a shadow of darkness and authenticity over the flamboyant, shiny suit rap of the late 90s. He represented significant change for the art form. “X Gon Give it To Ya” did the same for “Deadpool,” letting everyone know they’d yet to see an X-Men movie like this before.
The song was over a decade old by the time it was used in the “Deadpool” trailer (it was also a part of the soundtrack to “Cradle 2 the Grave,” a film DMX starred in), but for what it needed to accomplish, it had been aged to perfection.
In the simplest of terms, you couldn’t go wrong with the lyrics. “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” was the perfect play on “Deadpool” being a bloody X-Men movie that was nothing like its predecessors. Hearing the chorus over and over while watching Reynolds slice and dice his way through bad guys even badder than he is was a chef’s kiss moment. You knew it worked the moment you heard the beats and DMX’s voice merge with the clang of Deadpool’s katana blades.
It’s just like Kanye West once said in his hit song “Power,” I guess every superhero needs his theme music.
DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” was Deadpool’s superhero theme music to the max. And the teams behind the films knew it. Not only is the song the key part of that first trailer, it also appears in both “Deadpool” films, first as slow-mo walk up music for Deadpool and his motley crew of Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus, and again in “Deadpool 2,” blasting from Deadpool’s Walkman while he’s sitting on a rooftop before an assassination assignment.
This likely-to-be-imitated but not-to-be-duplicated superhero/rap combo is just one of the many ways DMX immortalized himself.
The X-Men never sounded better.