Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
4 minute read
25 Apr 2021
11:50 am

WATCH: DMX’s larger-than-life send-off

Nica Richards

His funeral, broadcast live on Saturday evening at Barclays Centre in New York, paid tribute to his tumultuous life and significant career.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: People gather to pay homage to DMX at Barclays Center on April 24, 2021 in New York City. Photo for illustration: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP

The funeral of hardcore hip-hop star DMX was nothing short of iconic, from his daughter reading her eulogy in a rap to his casket being transported in a monster truck. 

DMX, real name Earl Simmons, whose ominous, snarling raps chronicled the violence and struggles of the American street, died at 50 on 9 April, after being on life support for nearly a week following a heart attack. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Swizz Beatz (@therealswizzz)

His funeral, broadcast live on Saturday evening at Barclays Centre in New York, paid tribute to his tumultuous life and significant career.

Only family and close friends attended.

DMX funeral

Photo: Instagram/@therealswizzz

Appearances by Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir, Ruff Ryders CEO Waah Dean, producer Swizz Beats, and a tribute from his family. 

A “homegoing celebration” is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

Life and career

DMX reigned over the late 1990s and early 2000s with hits including X Gon’ Give It To Ya and Party Up.

He released eight albums, his most recent in 2015, and is among hip-hop’s darkest stars, laying his inner demons out for the masses in hard-driving anthems that gained him commercial and critical acclaim.

In the mid-1990s, he famously battled with Brooklyn’s up-and-coming star Jay-Z, who was then primarily an emcee, for hours in a smoky pool hall in the Bronx.

He released his debut major-label single Get At Me Dog in 1998 with Def Jam, which came off his first studio album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.

The album debuted at number one on Billboard’s top album chart and boasted another hit single, Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, ushering in commercial success that would last for years.

The artist endured a grim childhood, growing up in housing projects with his mother and five sisters where he suffered abuse, and had continued run-ins with the penal system throughout his life, even after he achieved celebrity.

In November 2017, he pleaded guilty to evading $1.7 million in tax payments between 2002 and 2005 and spent a year in prison.

DMX has suffered from addiction to drugs including crack, which he has said began as early as age 14.

‘Nothing less than a giant’

“DMX was a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world. His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity,” said Def Jam Recordings, the label with which DMX released some of his most iconic albums, in a statement following his death.

DMX’s love of dogs was such that he integrated barks and growls into his teeth-baring brand of rap.

“Your dog will die for you,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1999.

“That’s how dogs get down, unconditional love. Humans are not really capable of unconditional love.”

He released his debut major-label single “Get At Me Dog” in 1998 with Def Jam, which came off his first studio album “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.”

The album debuted at number one on Billboard’s top album chart and boasted another hit single, “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” ushering in commercial success that would last for years.

Defying his ferocious, testosterone-addled image, DMX from time to time also bared his goofier side, notably in an impromptu remix of the holiday classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that went viral in 2012.

He was vocal about his commitment to Christianity, even expressing hopes of becoming a pastor.

DMX masters are not being purchased by Jay-Z and Beyoncé

The death was followed by claims that Jay-Z and Beyoncé are purchasing his musical masters – the original recording and licensing of a song – for $10 million.

This is false according to a representative of DMX and family members.

Additional reporting by AFP