9th April 2021 the day a light in the Hip Hop world went out as Earl Simmons, aka DMX, passed away following a heart attack earlier this month.
The record-breaking artist found fame after being signed to Def Jam in 1995. His first album ‘It’s Dark and Hell is Hot’ went straight to no.1 on the Billboard charts 1998, the album shook the rap industry awake who were still mourning the death of 2pac in 1996. With the album featuring tracks like the Ruff Ryders Anthem, Prayer, Let Me Fly, I Can Feel It and Damien, this raw newcomer preaching to the streets, breathing real life into rap with a signature barking style made the world take note.
Follow up album ‘Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood’ also released in ’98 went straight to no. 1 – both albums going on to Platinum status making DMX the first rap artist ever to have two consecutive albums hit the no.1 spot in a year!
But the accolades didn’t stop there, in fact his first 5 studio albums which also included ‘And Then There Was X’ (1999) ‘The Great Depression’ (2001) and ‘Grand Champ’ (2003) all went to no.1 in the USA – making X the first living rap artist to have their first 5 albums debut at the top spot.
Venturing into acting, he starred in ‘Belly’ with Nas, ‘Romeo Must Die’ alongside Jet Li and Aaliyah, ‘Exit Wounds’ with Steven Segal, ‘Cradle to the Grave’ again with Jet Li and ‘Never Die Alone’.
Despite having found fame and fortune, DMX’s past with drugs and crime was a battle that peppered his career but he never shone away from the truth. Owning up to his imperfections and pain through lyrics, and forever seeking redemption, evermore since his last heart attack in February 2016. Speaking to rapper turned presenter Noreaga and DJ EFN on Drink Champs – Revolt TV, DMX stated “If I was to drop dead right now, my last thought would be – I’ve had a good life…” (Feb 2021)
On the show DMX also talked excitedly about the release of his upcoming album which will feature the likes Bono, Usher, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne and the late Pop Smoke – an album which will no doubt be another record breaking hit.
Earl Simmons aka DMX 1970 to 2021 Rest in Power