Less than a half-hour after the official news came that hip-hop legend DMX, 50, had passed away on April 9, people in parts of Queens, NY, were blasting his songs from their cars — “What’s My Name,” “X Gon’ Give It to Ya,” “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” and the countless others that he made during his recording career that spanned from 1998 to 2015.
The love was real. He was after all a New Yorker. Born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Dec. 18, 1970, he grew up in housing projects in Yonkers, N.Y. He lived with his single mother and four sisters.
Worldwide grief poured out for DMX, who died at White Plains Hospital in New York with his family by his side after being placed on life support for several days. DMX was rushed to the hospital on April 2 when he suffered a heart attack at his home in New York, according to his longtime attorney, Murray Richman. It is believed he overdosed.
DMX’s battle with drugs was well known and he most recently revealed that his addiction began when a mentor gave him a blunt laced with crack cocaine when he was just 14 years old. DMX was honest about his painful and abusive childhood and struggles with drugs, and most recently he had been on a recovery journey. He had even started to perform again across the country.
He was a founding member of the hip-hop collective known as the Ruff Ryders, along with the Drag-On, Eve, Swizz Beatz, MC Jin, Jadakiss, Styles P, Sheek Louch, Aja Smith, Fiend, Infared, and Cross. His career was full of hit songs. His first five albums each reached No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Weeks before his death, DMX spoke about a new album that promised to have star-studded guest appearances. AllHipHop reported that a DMX documentary was in the works with it airing on HBO Max. He also completed a role as a police detective in the 2020 thriller “Chronicle of a Serial Killer,” Hot 97 reported.
While DMX’s distinct deep gravel-voice and aggressive, high-energy rhymes will always be remembered, so too are some of the wisdom he said off stage. Despite his troubles, DMX was always full of faith and hope.
Here are seven positive quotes to remember the hip-hop legend.
“Always trust everyone to be themselves. But trust in the fact you can see them well. It takes too much energy not to trust someone; you always have to stay two steps ahead of them…Trust people to be them. Trust a snake to bite you. Trust a liar to lie to you. Trust a thief to steal from you. Trust them to be them. But know them when you see them,” DMX said during an interview with Revolt TV’s “Drink Champs” hosted by N.O.R.E. & DJ EFN in Feb. 2021.
“My fans need me. I need me.”
“Never become so involved with something that it blinds you. Never forget where you from; someone will remind you.”
Journalist Sofiya Abena Ballin shared a memory of meeting DMX on Twitter. “I want to reshare this. When I met DMX, he was speaking to a group of men who were homeless in Philly. He was energetic, warm and so giving. This is how I will remember him,” she posted.
She retweeted a Feb. 28, 2017, video, of DMX speaking to a group of men at Ready Willing & Able, a rehabilitation and jobs program in Philadelphia.
During the talk, DMX said, “When I speak to people I look at them in their eyes. And as I look across the room, I see myself. I see myself. I’ve been in difficult situations. The reason I reached out today, today is the one-year anniversary that I died for four-an-a-half minutes. Exactly one year ago. I realized that God gave me another chance. When I woke up this morning and realized today was that day, I said who can I be an inspiration to, who can I be some form of motivation to.”
“You don’t come to terms with something before you do it. It’s only after you’ve done it that you realize, you know, maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do. Sometimes you gotta fall down to know the feeling to get up.”
“No matter how hard it rains, withstand the pain.”
“My birth was a blessing. Sent to live and die on Earth; it’s a blessing. We each have a star; all you have to do is find it. Once you do, everyone sees it, you won’t be blinded.” – DMX
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