DMX recalled by family, friends and fans: ‘He saved my life’ [Video]


The day began the way the man it was meant to have ended it: with a prayer.

Snuggled together, a group of 30 people shook hands next to a huge monster truck holding a brown coffin on its bed. “Today is a special day for us,” one member said with his head bowed at the start of his 90-second summon. “Let’s celebrate our brother X.”

The group then joined over 1,000 people, mostly members of the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club, who had traveled to Yonkers, New York, to participate in a procession to Barclays Center in Brooklyn to celebrate the life of DMX, a man who many have described feeling intimate. closeness to, regardless of whether they’ve ever shared a word with him.

“He didn’t have a family, but he found family thanks to Ruff Ryders,” said Joaquin Dean, also known as Waah, one of the co-founders of the music label where DMX is located. is imposed. “And then he made a global family and touched them with his music.”

DMX, born Earl Simmons, died April 9 at age 50. He was commemorated on Saturday at the Barclays Center, where a large “X” made of off-white flowers had been built directly in front of the main entrance. The rapper, who received three Grammy nominations, sold millions of records throughout his career and was the first musician whose first five albums debuted at No.1 on the Billboard chart.

But even when DMX was the world’s most popular rapper, his music inspired a unique connection among fans from New York and beyond, who came to the event by invitation-only – whether or not they could enter. inside – to honor a man whose words about personal turmoil, they said, had helped them overcome their own problems.

“It wouldn’t have been right not to be here,” said Bridget Nixon, arriving in New York City from Orlando, Florida on Friday. She had made the trip with a friend, with whom her bond had forged decades ago during the outing. from DMX’s debut album.

“He helped me deal with trauma at a time when it was not okay to talk about it,” Ms. Nixon said, as her eyes began to fill with tears. “He helped me get through things from my childhood that now, at 46, I’m still confronted and addressed.

She added, “He saved my life.”

It reflected the festive mood throughout the afternoon – and the deeper spirit of mourning that lurked beneath that initial guise. Loud hugs between friends often turned into lingering emotional clusters.

The tribute began with a video of DMX and one of his daughters, hundreds of feet in the air atop a roller coaster as he tried to calm her down. “Daddy is here,” he cried. It was the start of a memorial in which loved ones sought to remember the man fans knew for his lyrical prowess and one-of-a-kind flow as their fiercely loyal family member Earl.

The service included her 15 children, who took to the stage, several increasingly emotional as they described their father as tough but loving. Many former artists on the Ruff Ryders label, including Swizz Beatz, Eve and Drag-On, also had to take a break from their speeches to pull themselves together.

“I don’t exist without this man,” Drag-On said. “He taught me everything I know. The air I breathe is what it put in my lungs.

DMX’s son Xavier recalled instances where his father told him he had made a bad decision or done something wrong, but quickly followed up with a warm hug. Nas recalled filming the 1998 film ‘Belly’ with DMX, which he said went tearful before a scene outside a nightclub in Chelsea as the two discussed what his career was like. could contain. Jadakiss described the past year as one of the happiest of his friend’s life.

One of the girls from DMX dedicated a series of bars to him, rapping: “He taught me to be strong, but it’s okay to be afraid, because sometimes that will show you how to be brave.”

And to nod to DMX’s penchant for infusing Christian spirituality through its music and concerts, speakers at the approximately 90-minute ceremony were interspersed with performances by Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir. on “Back to Life”, “You bring the Sunshine” and “Jesus Loves Me”, among other songs, as the ensemble formed a semicircle around the rapper’s coffin.

Before the memorial began, a crowd of hundreds outside the arena broke into several impromptu choirs of “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and whistled the rapper’s music on the sidewalk. It seemed like everyone was wearing an image of DMX, whether it was printed on shirts and hats that featured on his album covers or clinging to pocket photos of him.

Bubblez Jenkins, a member of the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club in Whitehall, Pa., Recalls idolizing the rapper during the early years of his career.

“I remember growing up looking at him and thinking I wanted this,” she says. “Loyalty, love. The brother and the brotherhood. In April 2018, she received a leather vest with the band’s logo on the back.

“I actually cried because it meant I would have the family he had,” she says. “He made me feel a part of something bigger.

After his death, stories of “That once I met X” flooded social media, where people shared memories of meeting him at hair salons, receiving his help lugging bags out of grocery stores, listening to his advice on addiction and forgiveness in the hallways from the hotel, or to smile inescapably after hearing him shout at random: upstairs? ”across the street.

Many accounts were imbued with the feeling that even with his talent and problems, DMX’s gruff exterior was penetrable into his day-to-day interactions, which Edwin Penalo, 39, of Harlem, said was his impression when he ran into the rapper over a decade ago in a Washington Heights swimming pool and had a short chat about his music.

“He was just totally down to earth,” he said. “A very normal guy.”

Another man, who only provided his stage name, Illuminardo, said DMX inspired his rap career.

Illuminardo said he was raised in eastern New York City and spent several years as a child cycling in foster homes, and he said he was driven to bring those experiences to his music while listening to the rapper.

“I wouldn’t do what I do without him,” Illuminardo, 30, said. “There is no doubt in my mind.”

Natalie Prieb contribution to reports.

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