NEW YORK — Memorial services were still being planned Monday for rapper DMX, who died last week at age 50.
DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, leaves behind a profound legacy.
Chuck Creekmur, founder and CEO of AllHipHop.com, joined the PIX11 Morning News to talk about the rapper’s cultural contributions and philanthropy.
“To know him was to love him. If you spent any time with DMX, you instantly fell in love with him,” Creekmur said. “For the most part, I had great experiences with him — always unique and always varied, but always an interesting experience. And that’s why so many people are heartbroken right now because DMX was a true man of the people … everyone has a DMX story.”
DMX, who grew up in Yonkers and called New York home, died on Friday following a heart attack about a week earlier, according to his family and his longtime attorney Murray Richman.
Richman could not confirm reports that DMX overdosed on drugs and he was not sure what caused the heart attack. Sources told TMZ that the rapper overdosed at his home around 11 p.m. on April 2.
DMX made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The multiplatinum selling album was anchored by several hits including “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog” and “Stop Being Greedy.”
The rapper had four other chart-topping albums including “…And Then There Was X,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ.” He has released seven albums and earned three Grammy nominations. By 2014, DMX had become one of the best-selling rappers in history, moving over 23.3 million copies worldwide.
Along with his music career, DMX paved his way as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film “Belly” and appeared in “Romeo Must Die” a couple years later with Jet Li and the late singer Aaliyah. DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for the film’s soundtrack song “Come Back in One Piece.”
The rapper also starred in “Exit Wounds” with Steven Seagal and “Cradle 2 the Grave” with Li, which topped the box office, accomplishing the rare feat as an artist to star in a number one movie and make a number one record. Simmons also occasionally poked fun at his tough guy persona in comedies like Chris Rock’s “Top Five” and the ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat.”
Over the years, DMX has battled with substance abuse. The rapper canceled a series of shows to check himself into a rehabilitation facility in 2019. In an Instagram post, his team said he apologized for the canceled shows and thanked his fans for the continued support.