It’s been a sad week in Hip-Hop and this week we are going to begin by focusing on one of the most renowned names in the genre.
Earl Simmons, also known as DMX (Dark Man X) was born in Mount Vernon, New York, USA on December 18th, 1970 to 19 year old Arnett Simmons and 18 year old Joe Barker. According to several sources, he had reportedly suffered abuse as a child and at the age of 14 he started roaming the streets to escape the environment he was in at home but was eventually sent to a group home. During his time there his love for Hip-Hop began to develop and after finding the name DMX (Dark Man X), which he got from a Oberheim DMX drum machine he used at school, his focus became his craft as he went in and out of prison.
After doing so he grew into being one of the most influential MC’s to ever touch a microphone and quickly became a force to be reckoned with. With his music career beginning in the early 90’s, he progressed to creating 8 studio albums, 5 compilation albums, 30 single releases and so much more. DMX was also a part of the renowned Ruff Ryders Entertainment record label for several years and had become one of it’s most notable faces with his song “Ruff Ryders Anthem“.
Now something that became a part of his journey at an early age was his battle with addiction and it continued for several years. He confessed during a 2020 interview that he had been tricked into smoking crack cocaine at 14 years old and he said that on that day “a monster was born”. In 2019 DMX had cancelled several of his live performances so that he could seek treatment but his demons had still followed him.
On April 2nd, 2021 he suffered from a heart attack after a reported drug overdose and had been sent to White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York, USA where he was put on life support in their Intensive Care Unit while being in a coma with little brain activity. According to a statement from the Simmons family, Earl “DMX” Simmons passed away at White Plains Hospital on Friday April 9th, 2021.
“We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of 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. 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. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever. We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX.”
The White Plains Hospital staff added, “Earl Simmons passed away peacefully with family present after suffering a catastrophic cardiac arrest.”
Leading up to DMX‘s passing, Master P spoke with TMZ and suggested that the lack of support that he had received throughout his substance abuse struggles, it is indicating that the music industry in need of change.
“DMX is an icon, and I just hate that we have to wait till something happens to one of these guys, or to one of us, before everybody really starts saying how much they care, and they love you,” he explained. “I mean, we gotta figure out how to prevent that. Drugs done killed a lot of our great ones and sent a lot of them to prison, and I’m praying for DMX and his family. And I hope that people start celebrating these icons while they’re alive, imagine all the stuff we could’ve prevented for DMX, to help him.”
After saying this Master P compared the music industry to the NBA and mentioned that when it comes to musicians there’s no union to protect the talent. “I feel like hip-hop need some type of union” he added. “The NBA have it. What happens when a guy fall off? After he done sold millions of millions of records, even a female, what happens? Think about it, the NBA, when they done, they go to SportsCenter, they can sit around, where do Hip-Hop go? Go back to the hood.”
Following this Master P had highlighted that he thinks education is the key to stopping more tragic cases like this and that it’s essential. “There will never be another DMX, he’s one of a kind.”
Click here to watch the full Master P interview with TMZ.