DMX‘s legacy will live on forever.
On Saturday, fans gathered outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and across the world via YouTube livestream to celebrate the life at the public memorial for Earl Simmons, the rap legend better known as DMX. Photos outside the arena showed crowds of fans honoring the late rapper, with one driving a monster truck adorned with the words “Long Live DMX.” Following behind the truck were dozens of motorcycles riding on the Brooklyn streets.
Facing the gathered fans was a sign on the Barclays Center featuring a DMX quote from the 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,” it read.
Capacity inside the venue where he last performed was limited to 10 percent due to the pandemic and only family and close friends will be allowed inside. Meanwhile, fashion brand Balenciaga collaborated with Kanye West‘s Yeezy to create a T-shirt tribute to DMX with the net proceeds from the $200 shirt benefiting the artist’s family, according to a post on his Instagram page.
Inside the Barclays Center, West and his Sunday Service choir kicked off the memorial with several songs before DMX’s family, including his fiancée Desiree Lindstrom and the late artist’s children appeared on the stage with the singing group.
“Rest in paradise DMX. Beautiful moving performance from Ye and his Sunday service choir,” Khloé Kardashian tweeted. Footage of DMX leading a prayer at West’s Sunday Service on Easter 2019 during Coachella weekend also aired during the ceremony.
Nas, who costarred in films and collaborated on multiple songs with DMX, also spoke during the ceremony, calling the late artist a “longtime friend” and “hip-hop icon” and telling the crowd: “It’s an honor to be here tonight but at the same time, it’s a sad day. It’s a glorious day. I just want to say I’m honored to be here.”
Eve, known as the First Lady of the Ruff Ryders, shared a few words as she stood next to Swizz Beatz. “I am seriously the luckiest, luckiest woman in the world to have been adopted by the Ruff Ryders, but to have known DMX the way that I knew him as a man, a father, a friend. This is so hard y’all. What I pray, what I hope, I pray to God, I pray to our angels, our ancestors, that his journey was smooth. I know that he will rest in power. Rest in love, but most of all he feel rest in peace.”
During his tribute speech, Beatz also noted: “Thank you my brother Kanye for this amazing set up.”
In the end credits, West and DMX’s manager Steven Rifkind were named as part of Swizz Beatz Production, which orchestrated the memorial.
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Earlier in the day, Lindstrom paid tribute to DMX with a photo of her posing with their 4-year-old son, Exodus. “Today is very hard for me and my family…but one thing that is keeping me going is knowing that my son and I just gained an amazing angel, my fiancé and Exodus father…Earl Simmons..!” she wrote alongside the picture on Instagram. “I will forever love you and you will always be in my heart!”
The celebration of life comes two weeks after the rapper died at 50 following a heart attack and being placed on life support for several 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,” his family said in a statement then. “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.”
Following his death, a slew of artists and close family shared their condolences and paid tribute to the late star.
“It’s a huge [loss],” Alicia Keys — whose husband Swizz Beatz was incredibly close to DMX — told PEOPLE. “It’s always hard to say goodbye, especially too soon and to someone that you love. My husband has definitely been doing really well with just talking through what he feels and talking about it with the kids and even on his socials.”
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“My brother was a different type of brother. A different type of artist. A different type of creative. Different type of soul,” Beatz said in an Instagram video. “Since the day that I met him, he lived his life for everyone else. I never seen him live his life for his self.”
DMX’s ex-wife, Tashera Simmons, also posted a remembrance for the rapper after news of his death on Saturday, sharing throwback photos on Instagram to mark her 50th birthday.
“Happy 50th birthday to me. 😢💔 With much prayer, pulling. Crying and a roller coaster of emotions. I couldn’t bring myself to just celebrate and close the last 50yrs of my life with out celebrating the life of one of thee most important person in the world to me, my Ex-husband,” she wrote on Instagram.
Lindstrom previously shared a sweet tribute for the late rapper.
“The first night we met and you held me close. I knew I would never let go. I was lost in you and nothing else mattered. My best friend, my baby, my love…truly my everything,” she wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of the pair together.
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic DMX
“Thank you for us. Thank you for Exodus,” she added, referencing their son. “Thank you God for Earl Simmons…forever X.”
Born Dec. 18, 1970 in Baltimore, Maryland, DMX released 15 Billboard Hot 100 megahit songs, including “Party Up (Up In Here)” which peaked at No. 27 on the list and charted for 21 weeks. His collaborative tune “Money, Power, Respect” with The Lox and Lil’ Kim peaked at No. 17 and charted for 20 weeks.
DMX has also appeared in 15 films, including Belly, Fast and Fierce: Death Race and Romeo Must Die — the latter alongside Jet Li and fellow hitmaker Aaliyah (who died in 2001 at age 22).
DMX is survived by his mother Arnett Simmons, his siblings, his children and their mothers.