The life and legacy of rapper DMX was immortalized on Saturday in a star-studded memorial service in Brooklyn, two weeks after the 50-year-old hip-hop icon died of a heart attack.
Fellow rap stars Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, and Eve were among the big names who attended the two-hour ceremony at the Barclays Center where DMX’s shiny red casket was displayed following a funeral procession from Yonkers – where the rapper grew up.
The service at the arena was closed to the public and restricted to close friends and family due to coronavirus restrictions, but was livestreamed on DMX’s YouTube channel.
The speakers included friends Swizz Beatz and Nas, as well as DMX’s daughter, who rapped in honor of her father.
West’s Sunday Service Choir kicked off the ceremony with a gospel performance. The hoodie sweatshirt-wearing ensemble performed a few songs, including their arrangement of ‘Excellent’ and Soul II Soul’s ‘Keep On Movin’.’
The choir took the stage during other moments of the ceremony, performing ‘Ultralight Beam’ and Whitney Houston’s assisted vocals on the hymn ‘Jesus Loves Me.’
Kanye West and the Sunday Service Choir kicked off a star-studded memorial service held for rapper DMX at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday
West led the choir as they performed a few songs, including ‘Ultralight Beam’ and Whitney Houston’s assisted vocals on the hymn ‘Jesus Loves Me’
The hoodie sweatshirt-wearing ensemble took the stage during the ceremony to perform their arrangement of ‘Excellent’ and Soul II Soul’s ‘Keep On Movin’
DMX’s shiny red casket was displayed at the Brooklyn arena following a 15-mile funeral procession from Yonkers, New York – where the rapper grew up
In a touching moment, DMX’s 15 children gathered on stage to talk – and sometimes rap – about the star as a father who taught them such lessons as ‘always say thank you,’ ‘be kind to everyone’ and that being afraid can sometimes show a person how to be brave.
Relatives emphasized his love of Jesus and his drive to make his fans happy, giving audiences the best show he could every time.
Nas reminisced about having a conversation with a teary-eyed DMX while filming a scene for ‘Belly,’ a crime drama. He said DMX became emotional knowing the rapper was about to embark on a journey to become a ‘hip-hop icon.’
‘It’s a sad day as well as a glorious day,’ said Nas, who starred with DMX in the 1998 film. ‘That was my brother. We did a great movie together. On that movie, he was just rising up as a star. His first album didn’t even come out yet, but he knew his journey was starting.’
Eve said she was still having a hard time with DMX’s death, remembering him as a ‘man, a father, a friend.’ She stood on stage with the Ruff Ryders collective, which helped launch the careers of Grammy winners Eve and Swizz Beatz and relaunch The Lox, formerly signed to Bad Boy Records.
The rapper’s legacy was immortalized as a man beloved by his family, honored for his strong faith and respected as one of hip-hop’s greatest icons at his memorial service Saturday, with several heartfelt speeches from those who knew the rapper best
In a touching moment, DMX’s 15 children gathered on stage to talk – and sometimes rap – about the star as a father who taught them such lessons as ‘always say thank you,’ and ‘be kind to everyone’
DMX’s family members were seen dressed in white and red as they took the stage in front of the rapper’s bright red casket
DMX’s young son paid tribute to his father with a rap performance of his own which he concluded by throwing up an ‘X’
One of DMX’s daughters (pictured) was among the guests who spoke at the ceremony and at one point rapped in honor of her father
After Eve spoke, Styles P talked about a time when he and DMX were both in the same jail. He said DMX fetched him from his cell and then took him to a part of the jail where he had a band set up along with a string of MCs.
‘DMX was the ghetto-est person that ever existed,’ Styles P said. ‘What he means to us is indescribable. He celebrated us and pushed us. He was one of the most incredible individuals, because from the beginning of his career to the end, he accomplished something no one has ever accomplished.
‘He was in pain the whole way. Whenever you (saw) him, that man was in pain, but he was built out of love. He was a beast with the rhymes.’
Fellow rapper Jadakiss said DMX was the ‘happiest he ever been in life’ during the last couple years.
Earlier on Saturday, a funeral procession for the rapper, real name Earl Simmons, brought Brooklyn to a standstill as bikers escorted a monster truck carrying his casket to the arena.
A huge black monster truck emblazoned with ‘Long Live DMX’ brought the body of the late rapper and New York native from his home town of Yonkers to the venue, where thousands of fans had gathered outside.
Rapper Eve (pictured) said she was still having a hard time with DMX’s death, remembering him as a ‘man, a father, a friend’
Swizz Beatz stood on stage with the Ruff Ryders collective, which helped launch her career of Grammy winners Eve and Swizz Beatz and relaunch The Lox, formerly signed to Bad Boy Records
Earlier, ex-wife of DMX, Tashera Simmons (left), and DMX’s fiancee Desiree Lindstrom, and his sons were seen arriving for DMX’s memorial at the Barclays Center
Fellow rapper Nas was seen arriving at the venue in a camouflage suit. He later spoke during the service as he reminisced about having a conversation with a teary-eyed DMX while filming a scene for ‘Belly,’ a crime drama
Hip hop star Busta Rhymes was seen arriving at DMX’s memorial at the Barclays Center on April 24, 2021 in New York City
Dave East and Trae tha Truth were among the hip hop artists who attended the memorial
The vehicle was flanked by members of the Ruff Ryders rap label as well as hundreds of motorbikes, with DMX’s shiny bright red coffin visible in the open air of the truck’s trailer.
Crowds of mourners and fans spilled on to the streets while some of DMX’s biggest songs from ‘Where The Hood At’ and ‘Ruff Ryders´ Anthem’ blared from the crowd’s speakers.
Programs with images of DMX were handed out to the service’s attendees ahead of the ceremony, which was livestreamed on the rapper’s YouTube channel and began more than two hours late.
The four-page booklet had different images of the rapper, including one with his arms folded with wings and another photo of him standing on stage during a performance.
The 50-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper delivered iconic hip-hop songs such as ‘Ruff Ryders´ Anthem’ and ‘Party Up (Up in Here).’
Simmons, who was a father of 15, died on April 9 at the age of 50.
He suffered a heart attack a week earlier at his home in White Plains, New York, after an apparent drug overdose.
DMX’s funeral procession brought Brooklyn to a standstill Saturday as bikers escorted the monster truck carrying his casket to a memorial service at the Barclays Center two weeks after he died of a heart attack
The vehicle was flanked by hundreds of motorbikes, as it made the journey from Yonkers to Brooklyn Saturday afternoon
An ‘X’ tribute and the lyrics of his hit song Fame are displayed outside the Barclays Center as a tribute Saturday
The procession began at around midday in the Yonkers area of New York where DMX spent his childhood from the age of five in the School Street Projects, before rising to global stardom.
The ride was dubbed The Ruff Ryders 2 The Rescue: Ryde 4 Life in a nod to the Ruff Ryders rap label which first became famous for managing DMX. The rapper also had a song called Ruff Ryders Anthem, which shot back up the charts following his death.
The NYPD and Yonkers Police told motorists to expect traffic delays and temporary closures along the route as the mourners made their way
‘Temporary closures south on the Major Deegan to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the westbound Grand Central Parkway,’ the NYPD tweeted.
Footage on social media showed the roaring truck pulling up to the arena just after 2pm where the life of the hip-hop legend was honored in a memorial service this afternoon.
A huge crowd of fans had gathered at the arena to pay their respects to the late rapper.
A large white ‘X’ floral arrangement was on display outside the Barclays Center while a tribute to DMX was on display on the front of the building.
It featured an image of the rapper with wings along with the lyrics of his hit song Fame: ‘We each have a star, all we have to do is find it. Once you do, everyone who sees it will be blinded.’
‘Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons 1970-2021,’ it read.
Members of the Nation of Islam were also seen gathering outside the center ahead of the start of the service.
An X floral arrangement is seen outside the Barclays Center where a private memorial for US rapper DMX is being held
The rap icon passed away on April 9 at the age of 50 after suffering an apparent drug overdose and heart attack at his home in White Plains, New York
Members of the Nation of Islam are seen next to an X floral arrangement outside the Barclays Center
A woman watches the procession of DMX’s casket from the McLean Avenue bridge as it makes its way south on the New York State Thruway in Yonkers
Hundreds are gathered outside the Brooklyn Center to see the casket of US rapper arrive on a monster truck along Flatbush Avenue
Fans gather outside the Barclays Center Saturday. The memorial service is closed to the public, with only the rapper’s family and friends able to attend but is being streamed live on DMX’s YouTube account at 4pm ET
While the Barclays Center seats up to 19,000 seats for concerts and as the home of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, it is currently only allowed to function at 10 percent capacity due to the pandemic.
As a result, the memorial service will be closed to the public, with only the rapper’s family and friends able to attend but it will be streamed live on DMX’s YouTube account at 4pm ET.
‘Attendance to both the Celebration of Life memorial and the Home-going Celebration will be restricted to solely due to health and safety guidelines,’ a statement about the funeral services read at the time of their announcement.
‘New York State currently limits indoor arenas to 10 [percent] capacity. New York State COVID-19 testing guidelines and protocols will be followed.’
A second event will be broadcast live on BET Sunday at 2:30 pm ET from an undisclosed church in the New York City area.
His chart-topping songs included ‘Party Up (Up in Here)’ and ‘X Gon’ Give It To Ya.’ The Yonkers, New York native’s career had been marked by legal troubles and prison time, and a well-publicized struggle with drug addiction.
The rap icon died April 9 in White Plains Hospital with his family by his side, after he had spent a week fighting for his life in hospital following a heart attack.
The procession was dubbed The Ruff Ryders 2 The Rescue: Ryde 4 Life, as DMX was a member of the legendary label
The NYPD and Yonkers Police told motorists to expect traffic delays and temporary closures along the route of the procession
The roaring truck pulled up to the arena just after 2pm where the life of the hip-hop legend is to be honored in a memorial service this afternoon
A fan gestures an ‘X’ symbol as he pays tribute to the rap icon outside a Brooklyn memorial to celebrate his life
His family confirmed the news in a statement saying: ‘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,’ the statement, shared via People, continued.
‘Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever.’
DMX had a heart attack at his home in White Plains on April 2.
Sources told TMZ that the star had suffered a drug overdose but his representatives are yet to confirm this.
In the days that followed, the rapper was said to have been placed on life support and was ‘in a vegetative state.’
It was then reported that his vital organs had failed, that he had ‘not regained any brain function’ and that his condition had not improved since he was admitted to hospital.
Fans and members of the Ruff Riders group gathered for days outside the hospital, holding prayer vigils for the star and playing his music. He leaves behind 15 children.
Tributes poured in from the entertainment world following news of his death, with Missy Elliott tweeting: ‘Even though you had battles you TOUCHED so many through your MUSIC and when you would PRAY so many people FELT THAT!’
DMX (pictured in 2017) died April 9 in White Plains Hospital with his family by his side, after he had spent a week fighting for his life in hospital following a heart attack
DMX is considered one of the biggest artists of the 90s and early 2000s rap era. His rap career had an impressive start, with his debut album in 1998 ‘It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,’ listed as number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. Pictured on stage in 2011 (left) and 2019 (right)
Family man: DMX had a total of 15 children, some of whom are pictured above with the rapper in 2003
She added: ‘This is heavy for the HipHop family but your LEGACY LIVES ON & your SPIRIT. Continued Prayers for X family & friends for STRENGTH/HEALING.’
Others stars paying their respect included Oscar-winners Viola Davis and Halle Berry, rap legend Ice Cube, and NBA star LeBron James.
Rapper Eve, who was mentored by DMX, posted a heartfelt tribute to Instagram on Friday saying: ‘I know that you are in the place of peace you deserve. I will be forever grateful to have known you.’
‘You were one of the most special people I have ever met. Full of humour, talent, wisdom and love and most of all loyalty. This world has lost a REAL ONE but the heavens have gained an ANGEL. May you Rest.’
Meanwhile his longtime label Def Jam said in a statement Friday: ‘Def Jam Recordings and the extended Def Jam family of artists, executives and employees are deeply and profoundly saddened by the loss of our brother Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons.
‘DMX was 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 statement concluded: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him and were touched by him. DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever.’
DMX is considered one of the biggest artists of the 90s and early 2000s rap era. His rap career had an impressive start, with his debut album in 1998 ‘It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,’ listed as number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and selling more than five million copies.