Taking Rap Lyrics Too Seriously #2

Part Two in Taking Rap Lyrics Too Seriously will be discussing the DMX song Where Tha Hood At? in honour of my appearance on the DMX-obsessed podcast Exodus Americanus.

In this song, DMX repeatedly asks the following question:

Where the hood, where the hood, where the hood at?

Obviously DMX had his own reasons for asking this question.


You don’t know! Maybe he wants to spread the word of the lord to troubled youths!

But, like last time, let’s take the question literally: Where is the hood, in relation to DMX?

First off, we need to figure out where DMX was when he asked the question.

Getting information on both where DMX was living at the time of the recording and where the song itself was recorded has proven difficult. However, all of the information I could find on DMX from before this song said he lived in New York City, and both of the labels that he recorded the song for (Def Jam and Ruff Ryders) are based in New York City, so it seems like a safe bet that the question was asked in New York.

Next, what does DMX mean by “hood”?



Urban Dictionary says that “hood” refers to “ghetto”, and given DMX’s lengthy legal history, it seems obvious that he meant the high-crime variety, not the “Jewish ghetto” variety. So, let’s look for high crime neighbourhoods in 2003.

The FBI keeps recordsĀ of every kind of crime you can think of everywhere, but they make it very difficult to compare all metropolitan areas by violent crime rate. So, instead, we will have to settle for cities with a population above 100,000. What we’re looking for here is the “hood” with the highest crime rate per capita, and the “hood” that ranks in the top ten that is closest to DMX, all using 2003 numbers. That way DMX can choose whether he values hood-ness or proximity more when asking “Where the hood at?”

So, the top ten most violent cities in America, by violent crime rate per 100,000 people in 2003, were:

10. St. Petersburg, Florida with 1601.8.

9. North Charleston, South Carolina with 1658.2.

8. Orlando, Florida with 1684.

7. Baltimore, Maryland with 1735.

6. Tampa, Florida with 1786.5.

5. Miami, Florida with 1875.3.

4. Springfield, Massachusetts with 1896.1.

3. Atlanta, Georgia with 1969.6.

2. Detroit, Michigan with 2018.2.

And the most violent city is…

1. St. Louis, Missouri with a whopping 2181.9 violent offences per 100,000 people.

Therefore, Mr. DMX, if you wanted to find the most “hood” place, St. Louis is your best bet.

However, we also need to rank these cities by proximity to where the question was asked: New York City. I will be using straight line numbers, as DMX seemed fairly desperate to find the hood, so I assume he would be willing to charter a plane to get there.



From ranked from furthest to closest to New York (and by extension DMX in 2003), the closest hood cities are:

10. Miami, Florida at 1093 miles.

9. St. Petersburg, Florida at 1021 miles.

8. Tampa, Florida at 1004 miles.

7. Orlando, Florida at 940 miles.

6. St. Louis, Missouri at 872 miles.

5. Atlanta, Georgia at 746.

4. North Charleston, South Carolina at 635 miles.

3. Detroit, Michigan at 481 miles.

2. Baltimore, Maryland at 169 miles.

And the closest hood to DMX in 2003 was…

1. Springfield, Massachusetts at 102 miles.

There you have it Mr. DMX. If in 2003, when you asked “Where The Hood At?” you wanted the most hood place in America, your answer was St. Louis, Missouri. However, if you wanted the closest hood to you that is in the top ten most hood places in America, Springfield, Massachusetts was your best bet.


How does DMX feel about Luda? Because Luda’s already in Springfield.

I hope this answer to the question you posed more than a decade ago proves useful to you.



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