YONKERS — Mike Spano, the mayor of Yonkers, honored one of the city’s native sons in DMX, who passed away Friday morning from a heart attack.
The mayor spoke in public Friday as locals were mourning the rapper, real name Earl Simmons. Video of the speech was posted to Facebook.
“Today, our city mourns the loss of a musical icon, someone who wore their heart on their sleeve and at every opportunity gave back to Yonkers — the city he loved,” said Spano. “Earl Simmons, or as we know him, DMX, was a man of exceptional talent. His spirit will live on in the power of his music and leave a lasting impact on his tremendous following.”
DMX — a Mount Vernon native raised in Yonkers — built a multiplatinum career as one of rap’s biggest stars of the late 1990s and early 2000s, but he also struggled with drug addiction and legal problems that repeatedly put him behind bars.
“There were no DMX clones in his wake because there was no way to falsify the life that forged him,” Jon Caramanica wrote in the Times. “For DMX — who died Friday at 50 after suffering a heart attack on April 2 — hip-hop superstardom came on the heels of a devastating childhood marked by abuse, drug use, crime and other traumas. His successes felt more like catharsis than triumphalism. Even at his rowdiest and most celebrated, he was a vessel for profound pain.”
His record label, Def Jam Recordings, called him “a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world.
“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,” the label said in a statement describing him as “nothing less than a giant.”
The Ringer described his 1997 introduction to Def Jam execs as “the stuff of music-industry legend,” and all-but crowned him as Def Jam’s savior at a time when the label was slipping to its A-Game competition.
Though TMZ reported there may be a street name or statue honoring DMX at some point in Yonkers, when reached for comment, the mayor’s office said there were no specific plans to honor the rapper yet.