The music industry recently suffered a significant loss as Grammy Award-winning rapper Earl Simmon, famously referred to as DMX, died on Friday, April 9, 2021. In an official statement released by his family after his death, the family shared that the 50-year-old rapper had been on life support at White Plains Hospital, NY, where he was admitted after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest” a week before April 2.
During his last days, DMX’s reputation as a revolutionizing music icon was well displayed as family, friends, and thousands of fans gathered in front of the hospital to show their support of the artist as they prayed, played his music aloud, and linked arms in the shape of “X.”
A true fire-starter, DMX was a genre of one, his fierce yet soulful lyrics infused with Christain spirituality, reflecting his dark and eventful past. In the 1990s and 2000s, DMX was the unrivaled king of rap and was respectfully dubbed the most famous rapper on the planet.
In his peak years, DMX released a string of albums that peaked on the No.1 spot on the Billboard album chart and went platinum multiple times. Some of the majestic albums are Flesh of My Flesh, It’s Dark, and Hell is Hot, Blood of my Blood, and …And then there was X.
His unique body of work and music style involves growling and barking credibly like a dog while he raps about the gangsta lifestyle trials was loved and well-received by fans and critics alike. He sold millions of his records, gained worldwide acclaim as he became the first musician to have five albums on the Billboard Music chart’s peak spot.
Despite his tremendous success, DMX was an immense vessel of pain carried over from a devastating childhood colored by abuse, crime, and drug use. Growing up in Yonkers, north of the Bronx during the 1980s, he had firsthand accounts of racial tension years.
With a father that was never around and a single mother struggling to keep him and his half-sister fed and clothed in a violent neighborhood, DMX grew up a hot-tempered kid, wanting more from life. As he grew older, he became restless. He soon turned to a life of crime, spending the best part of his teenage years in group homes, juvenile detention facilities, sometimes facing solitary confinement.
As a young adult, he was so involved in crime that he became a car thief and robber, adept at intimidating his victims with vicious dogs. The most troubling part of his teenage years was, however, yet to come.
In the late 1980s, he found a passion and started beatboxing, making beats with his mouth and working with Ready Ron, a local rapper. When he was 14, he had his first introduction to drugs as Ready Ron, whom he looked up to, passed him a blunt laced with crack cocaine, getting him addicted to drugs.
As he grew older, he struggled with his drug use and childhood trauma, its effects and the pain it was causing him, spilling forth in his songs. His 2001 album The Great Depression was a well-detailed insight into his life, the lingering trauma and the demons he battled.
A legend through and true, DMX is survived by the Simmons family, his fifteen children and millions of fans worldwide through whose lives have been impacted by the icon’s raps, as they found in him a kindred spirit.