By Kershaw St. Jawnson and Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur
DMX’s legions of fam, fans, and his Ruff Ryders crew traversed from his Native Yonkers, New York over the bridges and through the streets today to send the rapper off at a memorial in Brooklyn at The Barclays Center.
The view was magnificent with DMX’s casket hoisted high atop a monster truck with hundreds of motorcycles of all varieties riding behind. The truck was emblazoned with “Long Live DMX” on the side. Some of the cyclists popped wheelies as they watched the man known as Earl Simmons took one final ride through the streets that loved him so.
The procession was met with cheers and adoration for the rapper that died earlier in the month from a heart attack that put him in a coma.
The memorial started well over two hours late. Sources close to the event suggested that a myriad of issues caused the delay, including COVID-19 precautions, set up, and other matters related to a celebration of this magnitude.
The ceremony opened with the viral video clip of DMX with one of his daughters on a rollercoaster at an amusement park.
Then as the audience silenced itself, his broken voice permeated the air with a prayer from his album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.
After the prayer was completed, Kanye West’s Sunday Service choir opened with a rendition of Soul II Soul’s song, “Back to Life (However Do You Want It)” and “Keep on Moving.”
After the two popular songs from the late 80s and early 90s, the choir sang “Perfect Praise (How Excellent)” by Walt Whitman and Soul Children of Chicago,
As they sang red lights cascading over them, while black and white pictures and maps of Yonkers flashed across the trapezoid-shaped stage and screen.
One of Dark Man X’s family members came out to remind the crowd that he lived his life for his fans — hoping to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in his most unique way. She also noted that all that he ever wanted was to have all of his children together and their mothers get along.
And for this occasion … they were on one accord … honoring one of his last wishes.
While the music was moving, nothing beat all of his children lined up across the stage. His son, Xavier was first to speak. The family dressed in crimson and cream thanked the audience and acknowledge that their father was a king. “I am so honored to have a father like we have. This man deepened my ability to love. ‘You think you know what love is son … walk with me.”
A younger song also spoke.
One of his daughters broke out an original rap. “Yo, I’m growing and earning my daddy still holding my hand so I got to stand up.”
Sunday Service returned to sing the Clark Sisters, “You Brought the Sunshine (Into My Life).”
“I’m a witness that Jesus
He’ll make a difference in your life
I’m a witness that Jesus
He’ll make a difference in your life
I’m a witness that Jesus”
The following voice was another angel. They played Whitney Houston’s version of “Jesus Loves Me,” accompanied by the choir that surely brought tears running.
Belly co-star and long-time friend, Nas came and gave remarks, remembering times when he and his brother were at the Tunnel night club at the start of their careers. He sent his support to all of the artists that shared the Ruff Ryder banner with him — ending with “I said my piece.”
A video of X appeared on the screen with him reciting “The Prayer VI,” reminding fans of his powerful ministry. And appropriately, Kanye West’s ministry followed the prayer. The choir performed an excerpt of “Ultralight Beam.”
Various members of the Ruff Ryders Family came to the stage.
“You not an artist, you are our brother.”
Joaquin “Waah” Dean introduced his brother Darin “Dee” Dean, Eve, The Lox, and also Tip who “brought DMX” to the company. Dee shouted out Swizz and Drag-On, calling him “DMX the Great.” After explaining that they never turned their back on X and also announced that they had new music coming out soon.
Eve, the First Lady of Ruff Ryders, came to the front to share that she was the luckiest woman to have adopted into the RR fam. She also struggled to express how she considered herself blessed to be his friend. “This is so hard, y’all.”
— 𝕊𝕙𝕒𝕨𝕥𝕪 (@Rabbit_Runz) April 24, 2021
A broken Drag-on confessed to the arena full of strangers, “Straight bottom line, I don’t exist without this man. And I am trying my best not to cry right now. But I am not sh*t without him. He taught me everything I know.”
The LOX were then called to the stage.
Jada Kiss called out to Y.O. saying “This is different for me … this is not easy to digest. He is the one that brought us to D and Waah … I saw him in all kinds of different phases of his life. Anyone that saw him in the last year, knew he was the happiest in his life.”
“DMX was the ghetto-est person to have ever existed,” Styles joked. “What made it special is that we go on first. He did nothing but push us.”
He continued, “He accomplished something that no one else could accomplish and he was in pain the whole way.” Styles talked about being in jail with DMX and how the artist, even while incarcerated, set up a jam session with other rappers and actual musicians.
When Swizz Beatz stepped up, he noted that “words can’t describe their loss.”
Real S### Swiss! RIP DMX https://t.co/1ZDCnHW5N2
— Brittney (@JustBrittney26) April 25, 2021
He joked about the celebration started late because he knew the Dog was up in heaven causing trouble. He further challenged people to love others while they are here and not when they are gone. This is in reference to those people who have come around after DMX transition— urging everyone to get a will. As he noted that this was not a fashion show, he promised to make sure that his family (children) would all be set for the rest of their lives.
He started the “Ruff Ryder Anthem” and the crowd erupted in a traditional call and response … in this unorthodox church service.
The part of the program culminated with DMX’s classic song and video, “What Y’all Really Want” and the same viral moment with his daughter that it opened with.
“Stop, drop, open up shop. OOOOOh, that’s how Ruff Ryders roll.”
The benediction was also committed by Kanye’s choir and worship leaders. With words intended to be a balm and sweet salve to ease the broken hards of those in attendance and watching it streamed live on YouTube, he offered up a prayer. The leader thanked God for allowing people to have this homegoing gesture as the “oil of joy … for our time of mourning.”
Within the prayer, he quoted 1 Thessalonians 4:13, holy scripture from the Epistles of Paul, “We don’t grieve as those who have no hope.” While we don’t, Hip-Hop as a whole is crying. We lost one of our greatest (though troubled) kings. #RIPDMX
The DMX celebration ceremony was so well put together .
RIP to the Dark Man 🙏🏽🐾
— Shaun Champion 🏆 (@ChampionSteez) April 25, 2021