The Life of Earl Simmons by Tomisin Akins
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end. He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him,” the family said, adding that his music “inspired countless fans across the world.”
DMX, aka Dark Man X, was a leading hip-hop performer who collaborated with such artists as JAY-Z, Ja Rule and LL Cool J. He took his moniker from the name of a drum machine used in rap tracks. On April 9th, DMX was pronounced dead after reportedly losing functionality in multiple essential organs, including his lungs, liver, and kidneys, following a heart attack at his home resulting from a drug overdose on April 2nd.
“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,” his record label, Def Jam Recordings, said in a statement describing him as “nothing less than a giant.”
DMX was a force to be reckoned with in 1998 when his first studio album, “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The multiplatinum-selling album was anchored by several hits including “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy” and “How It’s Goin’ Down.” He followed up with four chart-topping albums including “... And Then There Was X,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ.” He released seven albums, earned three Grammy nominations and was named favorite rap/hip-hop artist at the 2000 American Music Awards.
DMX had some onscreen success as well, starting with his feature debut in Hype Williams’ 1998 flick Belly with Nas, DMX went on to star with Jet Li and Aaliyah in 2000’s Joel Silver-produced Romeo Must Die. The next year saw DMX team up with Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds. The duo would reunite in 2019 for the VOD release Beyond the Law.
In the past decade, father-of-15 DMX became infamous for his verbal attack on Drake and more run-ins with the law. “Earl Simmons was a wonderful, caring father, and a sensitive, thoughtful man,” said Lyor Cohen, a former executive at Def Jam, in a statement. “Unfortunately, Dark Man X took over and ran amok, tormented and struggling to find the light. ... DMX gave me the inspiration to keep going at Def Jam when rap became soft and silly.”
Rest In Peace.
We've created a Best of DMX playlist for you to listen to: