Long live DMX. Two weeks after his death, DMX’s family and friends gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Earl Simmons at a memorial at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Saturday (April 24). The 50-year-old rapper’s blood-red casket was driven from his hometown of Yonkers to Barclays in a monster truck with the words “Long Live DMX” written on the side, while flanked by hundreds of motorcycles.
The 90-minute ceremony, which streamed live on YouTube, opened with a viral video of DMX and one of his daughters riding the Slingshot roller coaster as he eased her fears. “Daddy’s here,” he said.
In an emotional moment, his 15 children came together to remember their father including Xavier Simmons, DMX’s eldest child, and another one of his daughters, who paid tribute to her dad with a rap in the cadence of X’s 1998 hit “Slippin’.”
“Ayo, I’m learning so much from my father / He taught me life is my story, I’m the author / He taught me to be strong, but it’s OK to be afraid / ‘Cause sometimes it’ll show you how to be brave,” she rapped.
In between tributes from family and friends, Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir honored X’s Christian faith with gospel renditions of Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life,” Whitney Houston’s “Jesus Loves Me,” and the Clark Sisters’ “You Brought the Sunshine,” while gathered around the rapper’s coffin.
Donning army fatigues and Timberlands, Nas reminisced about filming 1998’s Belly with his “longtime friend.” “He looked at me, tears in eyes, because he knew about the journey he was about to embark on, becoming a hip-hop icon,” said Nas.
His Ruff Ryders family took the stage, one by one delivering powerful yet somber tributes including Eve, who recalled “a man, a father, a friend.” “I am seriously the luckiest woman in the world to have been adopted by Ruff Ryders,” said the First Lady of Ruff Ryders.
With tears in his eyes, Drag-On credited X for birthing his career. “I don’t exist without this man,” he said. “He taught me everything I know. The air I breathe is what he put in my lungs.”
Jadakiss said the past couple years were “the happiest that [DMX] ever was in life,” while Styles P remarked, “DMX was the ghettoest person that ever existed.”
Swizz Beatz was the last to speak. “I just wish all these people showed up for him when he was here,” said DMX’s longtime collaborator. “The things I’m witnessing from my brother’s passing, it’s a big educational thing for me to learn. A lot of people ain’t your friend, a lot of people ain’t your family. And I need everybody to do a will. You do not want strangers, bloodsuckers, handling your business when you’re not here. You want the ones that you love handling your business. But I’m going to make sure my brother’s straight.”
Watch the full memorial below.