The music industry is in mourning today (April 9). Legendary rapper DMX (birth name Earl Simmons), known for such hits as “Party Up (Up in Here),” “Get at Me Dog,” and “What’s My Name?,” among countless more, is dead at 50.
“We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one passed away 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,” his family shares in a press statement. “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. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.”
Earl Simmons was born in 1970 in Baltimore, Maryland, but spent much of his youth in Yonkers, New York. During his tumultuous childhood, he began writing songs and channeling his undeniable vocal rasp, as much as his pain in those early days, into much of his work. His 1998 debut record, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, a blockbuster success moving 251,000 copies its first week out, set a standard not often met in rap music.
He quickly followed his debut with Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, a sophomore released only a mere seven months later. It was an instant classic, moving more than 600,000 copies and solidified him as a force in the industry. A string of records following, including …And Then There Was X (1999), The Great Depression (2001), Grand Champ (2003), and Year of the Dog… Again (2006). Meanwhile, Simmons flexed his acting chops in a slew of memorable roles, from Belly and Romeo Must Die to Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 the Grave.
Photo by Jonathan Mannion