On Saturday, two weeks after the 50-year-old hip-hop pioneer died of a heart attack, his life and legacy were immortalized in a star-studded memorial service in Brooklyn.
Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, and Eve were among the celebrities who attended the two-hour memorial service at the Barclays Center, where DMX’s gleaming red casket was displayed after a funeral procession from Yonkers, where he grew up.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the service at the arena was closed to the public and limited to close friends and relatives, but it was live streamed on DMX’s YouTube channel.
Swizz Beatz and Nas were among the speakers, as was DMX’s daughter, who rapped in memory of her father.
With a gospel performance, West’s Sunday Service Choir opened the ceremony. The hoodie-clad group performed a few tracks, including their version of “Excellent” and Soul II Soul’s “Keep On Movin’.”
‘Ultralight Beam’ and Whitney Houston’s supporting vocals on the hymn ‘Jesus Loves Me’ were performed by the choir during other sections of the ceremony.
Source: DMX YOUTUBE CHANNEL
DMX’s 15 children gathered on stage in a moving moment to speak – and sometimes rap – about their father, who taught them lessons like “always say thank you,” “be kind to others,” and “being afraid can sometimes teach a person how to be brave.”
Relatives stressed his devotion to Jesus and his desire to please his fans by putting on the best performance possible every time.
Nas recalled a conversation he had with a teary-eyed DMX while shooting a scene for the crime drama ‘Belly.’ He said DMX became emotional when he realized he was about to embark on a quest to become a “hip-hop symbol.”
Nas, who co-starred with DMX in the 1998 film, said, “It’s a sad day as well as a glorious day.” ‘That was my pal,’ says the narrator. We made a fantastic film together. He was just starting out as a star in that film. His first album hadn’t even been released when he realized his journey had begun.’
Eve expressed her sadness over DMX’s death, remembering him as a “man, a father, and a friend.” She was on stage with the Ruff Ryders collective, which helped Grammy winners Eve and Swizz Beatz start their careers, as well as relaunch The Lox, who were previously signed to Bad Boy Records.
Following Eve’s remarks, Styles P spoke of a time when he and DMX were both in prison. He said that DMX fetched him from his cell and took him to a section of the jail where he had a band and a line of MCs set up.
‘DMX was the most ghetto guy who ever lived,’ said Styles P. ‘It’s impossible to put into words how much he means to us. He both praised and moved us. He was one of the most remarkable people because, from the start of his career to the end, he achieved something that no one else had ever done.
‘He was in excruciating pain the whole time.’ That man was in pain whenever you (saw) him, but he was made out of love. He might rhyme like a beast.’
DMX has been the ‘happiest he’s ever been in life in recent years, according to fellow rapper Jadakiss.
Source: GETTY IMAGES
A funeral procession for the artist, real name Earl Simmons, had brought Brooklyn to a halt earlier in the day, as bikers escorted a monster truck carrying his casket to the stadium.
The body of the late rapper and New York native was transported from his hometown of Yonkers to the site, where thousands of fans had gathered outside, in a massive black monster truck emblazoned with ‘Long Live DMX.’
DMX’s gleaming bright red coffin was visible in the open air of the truck’s cab, surrounded by members of the Ruff Ryders rap label and hundreds of motorcycles.
Crowds of mourners and fans poured out into the streets, with songs like ‘Where The Hood At’ and ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’ blasting from the audience’s speakers.
Prior to the ceremony, attendees were given programs with pictures of DMX, which was live streamed on the rapper’s YouTube channel and started more than two hours late.
The four-page booklet featured various photos of the rapper, including one of him standing on stage with his arms folded like wings and another of him standing on stage during a set.
The Grammy-nominated rapper, who is 50 years old, is known for songs like “Ruff Ryders Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here).”
Simmons, a father of 15 children, passed away on April 9th at the age of 50.
After an apparent opioid overdose, he had a heart attack a week ago at his home in White Plains, New York.
The procession started about midday in Yonkers, New York, where DMX grew up in the School Street Projects from the age of five before rising to global stardom.
The Ruff Ryders 2 was the name given to the flight. In a nod to the Ruff Ryders rap label, which rose to prominence after managing DMX, The Rescue: Ryde 4 Life was released. Ruff Ryders Anthem, an album by the rapper, shot back to the top of the charts after his passing.
As the mourners made their way along the road, the NYPD and Yonkers Police warned motorists to expect traffic delays and temporary closures.
The NYPD tweeted, ‘Temporary closures south on Major Deegan to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the westbound Grand Central Parkway.’
The roaring truck was seen on social media pulling up to the arena shortly after 2 p.m., where the hip-hop legend’s life was celebrated in a memorial service this afternoon.
The arena was packed with fans who had gathered to pay their respects to the late rapper.
Outside the Barclays Center, a large white ‘X’ floral arrangement was on display, while a tribute to DMX was on display on the front of the building.
Source: DMX YOUTUBE CHANNEL
It featured a picture of the rapper with wings, as well as lyrics from his hit song Fame, which read: ‘We all have a star, all we have to do is find it.’ Everyone who sees it after that will be blinded.’
It said, ‘Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons 1970-2021.’
Members of the Nation of Islam were also seen congregating outside the center before the service began.
Due to the pandemic, the Barclays Center, which can hold up to 19,000 people for concerts and serves as the home of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, is only allowed to operate at 10% capacity.
As a result, only the rapper’s family and friends will be able to attend the memorial service, which will be shared live on DMX’s YouTube channel at 4 p.m. ET.
‘Attendance at both the Celebration of Life memorial and the Home-going Celebration will be limited to strictly due to health and safety requirements,’ according to a statement released at the time of the funeral services’ announcement.
‘At the moment, New York State restricts indoor arenas to a 10% capacity. The COVID-19 research standards and procedures in New York State will be followed.’
A second gathering, from an unspecified church in the New York City area, will be broadcast live on BET on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
‘Party Up (Up in Here)’ and ‘X Gon’ Give It To You’ were two of his chart-topping albums. The Yonkers, New York native’s career had been marred by legal issues, jail time, and a well-publicized opioid abuse battle.
The rap legend died on April 9 in White Plains Hospital, surrounded by his fans, after a week in the hospital battling for his life after suffering a heart attack.
‘We are profoundly saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name Earl Simmons, passed away at 50 years old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being put on life support for the past few days,’ his family said in a statement.
‘Earl was a valiant warrior who fought until the finish. We remember the times we spent with him because he loved his family with all of his heart,’ the statement continued.
‘Earl’s music has influenced countless fans all over the world, and his legendary legacy will live on in perpetuity.’
On April 2, DMX suffered a heart attack at his White Plains home.
Source: DMX YOUTUBE CHANNEL
According to TMZ, the actor overdosed on drugs, but his representatives have yet to confirm this.
The rapper was placed on life support and was said to be ‘in a vegetative condition’ in the days that followed.
His vital organs had failed, he had ‘not recovered any brain function,’ and his condition had not changed after he was admitted to hospital, according to reports.
Fans and members of the Ruff Riders band gathered outside the hospital for days, holding prayer vigils and playing music for the star. He is the father of 15 children.
Following news of his death, tributes poured in from the entertainment industry, with Missy Elliott tweeting: ‘Even though you had fights, you TOUCHED so many through your MUSIC and when you would PRAY so many people FELT THAT!’
‘This is difficult for the HipHop family, but your LEGACY AND SPIRIT LIVE ON,’ she added. ‘Continued prayers for STRENGTH/HEALING for X family and friends.’
Oscar champions Viola Davis and Halle Berry, rap legend Ice Cube, and NBA star LeBron James were among those who paid their respects.
Eve, who was mentored by DMX, paid tribute to him on Instagram on Friday, writing: ‘I know you are in the place of peace you deserve.’ I’ll be eternally grateful to have met you.’
‘You were one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met. Full of wit, skill, intelligence, passion, and most importantly, loyalty. While the earth has lost a TRUE ONE, the heavens have gained an ANGEL. ‘May you find peace.’
Meanwhile, his longtime label, Def Jam, released a statement on Friday, saying, “Def Jam Recordings and the extended Def Jam family of musicians, executives, and employees are deeply and profoundly saddened by the loss of our brother Earl “DMX” Simmons.”
‘DMX was a phenomenal artist who inspired millions of people all over the world. His message of victory over adversity, his quest for light in the dark, and his pursuit of honesty and grace brought us closer to our own humanity.’
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved and were touched by him,’ the statement concluded. DMX was nothing short of a legend. His legacy will live on in perpetuity.’
DMX is regarded as one of the most influential rappers of the 1990s and early 2000s. His rap career got off to a fast start, with his debut album, ‘It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,’ debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and selling more than five million copies in the United States.
- Kanye West Service Choir: DMX YOUTUBE CHANNEL
- Kanye West Service Choir: GETTY IMAGES
- DMX Casket: DMX YOUTUBE CHANNEL
- DMX Family: DMX YOUTUBE CHANNEL