Iconic US rapper, Earl Simmons who is popularly known as DMX, died on the 9th of April, 2021 at the age of 50.
DMX who was born in Mount Vernon, New York began rapping in the early 1990s and released his debut album “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” in 1998, to both critical acclaim and commercial success, selling 251,000 copies within its first week of release.
The Rapper had a career that was both prolific and controversial, but generally, DMX was a legendary rapper whose style of music earned him a large following.
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Here are a few things you should know about DMX:
DMX had a rough childhood
DMX was the first and only child of Arnett Simmons and Joe Barker. He had a half-sister, Bonita, but after DMX was abandoned by his father as a baby, he and Arnett were forced to live in a home for single mothers, while Bonita was taken care of by his aunt.
Growing up, DMX life at home wasn’t easy. He came from a troubled home, which resulted in him leaving his mother when he was a young boy. He spent a great deal of time living in group homes and surviving on the streets via robbery.
How he got into music and his name
DMX got into music as a young teenager when Ready Ron, another young rapper, who was impressed with Simmons’ beatboxing skill, asked him to become his partner.
The two produced a lot of music together and made names for themselves in the underground hip-hop scene.
However, this relationship with Ready Ron was also what led him to his lifelong struggle with addiction to crack cocaine.
Simmons chose the name “DMX”, which came from an instrument he had used at the boys’ home, the Oberheim DMX drum machine. It later was also interpreted as “Dark Man X”.
DMX wanted to be a Firefighter
Although DMX made a name for himself as a talented hip-hop artist, he didn’t always want to be a musician. In an interview with Talib Kweli on People’s Party that he wanted to be a firefighter when he was a little boy.
The rapper had bronchial asthma and used to suffer asthma attacks as a child, causing firefighters to be called in to help calm him down.
He stated he liked firefighters in particular because they were just there to “save your life,” adding, “They’re not concerned with what other crimes may or may not be happening or anything of that nature.” Unfortunately, his Asthma didn’t allow his Firefighter dream to come true.
DMX also wanted to become a pastor
DMX wanted to be a pastor and became a certified deacon. He first indicated his interest when he gave an interview while in prison in 2009.
In an interview with Fox 10 News at the time, he revealed that being a pastor was his “true calling in life” and that being in prison helped him “[actualize his] true calling.”
When DMX was asked what he was going to do when he left prison, he said he wanted to “give [his] first sermon in a church.”
“That’s gonna be like incredible for me and I hope it’ll be incredible for the congregation of that church,” he said. “I hope I’m able to reach somebody you know and touch somebody and bring them closer to the Lord.” He also had plans to release a gospel album.
The “Ruff Ryder Anthem” crooner is survived by 15 children.
DMX was married once and had four children with his former wife, Tashera Simmons. They got divorced in 2012. He also had an additional 11 children from several different women, taking the total amount of kids DMX had to 15.
DMX welcomed his 15th child, a boy named Exodus Simmons, with girlfriend Desiree Lindstrom, in 2016.
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Here are also other notable facts about him;
- He once belonged to the same musical group with fellow rapper JAY Z and Ja Rule before they split in the 1990s.
- DMX has also pivoted into acting alongside his music. He was featured in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 the Grave, and Last Hour. In 2006, he starred in the reality television series DMX: Soul of a Man.
- In 2003, he published a book of his memoirs entitled, E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX.
- In 1986, DMX was first sent to prison after he stole a dog from a junkyard. He was sent to prison again in 1988 for carjacking and was later moved to a higher security prison after attempting to extort a fellow inmate for drugs.
According to GQ, the rapper had actually been arrested “some 30 times.” His charges were a wide variety which included drug possession, robbery, animal cruelty, probation violation, and driving without a license.
Unfortunately, X’s troubles with the law “grew simultaneously” along with his career. The more popular he got, the more the law seemed to come after him.
- He was the first artist to debut an album at No. 1 five times in a row on the Billboard 200 charts and has sold over 74 million records worldwide.
- Some of his hit songs include, Party Up (Up in Here), Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, Get at me dog featuring Sheek and more.
- The rapper had a life-long connection with and affection for dogs. In an interview, he admitted that he loves Dogs better than he does humans.