music / News

DMX Passes Away at 50

April 9, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

The rap world took a major hit on Friday as DMX passed away. DMX’s family confirmed in a public statemnt that the rapper, known for such hits as “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here),” died today in White Plains, New York. He was 50 years old.

DMX, real name Earl Simmons, had been on life support since last Friday after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest.” His family said in a statement:

“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. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.”

DMX came onto the music scene in the mid-1980s, beatboxing for a local rapper in Yonkers, New York, although he truly began to make a splash in the early 1990s when he became known from mixtapes he would produce and sell in New York. That led to his being named in The Source’s “Unsigned Hype” column and led to a contract with Columbia Records in 1992. He made appearances on several tracks by other artists before his major label debut LP It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot bowed in 1998. It was an instant success, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 album off the strength of tracks like “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.” His second LP Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood followed in December of that year and repeated the first album’s success. His commercial sales would peak with December 1999’s … And Then There Was X, which was certified six times Platinum and spawned the hits “Party Up,” What’s My Name?,” and “What These Bitches Want.”

DMX became known for his concerts and stage presence, which was documented in the 2000 concert documentary Backstage that followed several rappers on the 1999 Hard Knock Life tour. His gruff vocal delivery and cadence punctuated with growls and barks was instantly recognizable, turning him into a favorite to a legion of fans. All in all he totaled five straight #1 albums and a host of hit singles with 23.3 million albums sold, making him the fifth best-selling rapper of the Nielsen SoundScan era (from 1991 onward).

For all of his success, DMX’s life was also marked with significant legal and personal issues. His first stint in prison came in 1986 for stealing a dog, and he would continue to find himself in legal trouble for drug possession, reckless driving, assault, driving under the influence, and animal cruelty. His last stint in prison was on charges of tax fraud, for which he spent a year in prison and was ordered to pay $2.29 million in restitution. He was released in January of 2019.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends, and many fans of DMX. Rap music would not be the same without him.

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DMX, Jeremy Thomas