New York, New York–The Hip-Hop community is mourning yet again another loss, as news comes that rapper DMX has passed in White Plains New York.
The multi-platinum rap star was 50. Born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, New York in 1970, DMX rose to fame in the late 1990’s as a member of Ruff Ryders who was a management company at the time. Following the succcess of their early artist such as DMX, they formed as a record label and sought distribution deals with Def Jam.
DMX saw his first five albums make Billboard #1. His debut album, Its Dark and Hell is Hot sold over 250,000 the first week and DMX was also nominated for three grammy awards.
He has also starred in several movies including “Cradle To The Grave,” “Belly,” “Never Die Alone,” and” Romeo Must Die.”
DMX was taken off life support Friday April 9th after showing no brain activity for several days. He reportedly suffered a heart attack from what is being reported as a drug overdose.
“We are deeply 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 placed on life support for the past few days,” the family’s statement read.
With the news of his passing, many will remember DMX and the troubles in his life that he expressed shamelessly–especially his struggles with addiction and the industry. What I want people to keep in mind is that DMX was an artist that spoke of duality more than anything.
“Right, wrong, good, bad, heaven, hell. I think that is the theme of my life. I think you have to know both in order to honestly choose one. So I’m familiar with both sides of the fence.”
DMX’s raspy and snarling raps were laced within a street spiritualism that was obvious to those who really listened to what DMX was saying–without getting distracted by his delivery and the demons he struggled with. Within all of the grittiness of his raps, DMX was giving youth lessons he learned by being fully transparent with his journey.
He made it clear that he was not an industry artist, but rather an artist in the industry. In a recent interview with rapper Talib Kweli on UPROXX, DMX emotionally shared he was given a blunt laced with crack-cocaine when he was 14. This was given to him by an older guy in the community, someone that he looked up to and was formulating his early raps with.
It seems as though many will attempt to make DMX’s story synonymous only with his struggle with addiction–despite him being a platinum selling artist, movie star, and overall inspiration to people especially those dealing with heavy issues.
What people should keep in mind, is the responsibility that the older generation have on influencing the younger generation. Just like the man who laced DMX’s blunt with crack-cocaine, knowingly setting him up for failure, many of these grown a** rappers, continue to set the youth up for failure, by perpetuating negativity and destruction in their music.
Sometimes, I think we underestimate the tenacity it takes to rise beyond the confines of the ghetto, especially those of us carrying generational trauma. DMX and the artists of his day became worldwide phenomenon’s prior to social media. The seemingly microwave success of our social media stars today, will never compare to the work our vets had to put in–and they should always be praised for that.
DMX’s album covers gave us a clear picture that DMX was dealing with heavy components in his life. DMX was struggling with demons but in many of his songs, he was literally calling out for help from God and trying to right whatever wrongs he made in his life.
“I’m callin’ out to you, Lord, because I need your help
See, once again I’m havin’ difficulty savin’ myself
Behavin’ myself, you told me what to do, and I do it
But every and now and then it gets a little harder to go through it
Losin’ friends day by day
I’m in so much pain when I’m here, Lord, please take me away!
I put you here to do a job, and your work ain’t done
And there will be a time when you shine as bright as the stars
But there won’t be a his or hers, just ours
Then you’ll see what I’ve been tryin’ to show you all these years
Do the right thing, ’cause after the tears come the cheers
I will, my Lord, with my heart and my soul
That’s gonna be how I roll, from now until I mold
Lead and I’ll follow, you take away the sorrow
I’ma sleep on what you said and holla back tomorrow.”-DMX Angel
Many will remember DMX’s love for dogs but might not understand exactly why they are important to him. When he used to run away as a kid to escape the abuse of his mother, DMX would find comfort and companionship with stray dogs. The love DMX had for dogs was beyond a marketable image in corporate rap–it was genuine and personal.
DMX had just finished an album prior to his death and it will be released posthumously according to Ruff Ryders founder.