DMX – his life, his music and more in Brief

Earl Simmons, the snarling yet soulful rapper known as DMX, who had a string of No. 1 albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s but whose personal struggles eventually rivaled his lyrical prowess, died Friday in White Plains, N.Y., his family said in a statement. He was 50.

The rapper had been on life support at White Plains Hospital for days after suffering what his family called “a catastrophic cardiac arrest” a week earlier.

“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” the Simmons family said. “He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him.”

The music made by Simmons was often menacing and gruff, with the occasional nod to Christian spirituality. He committed crimes, served time in correctional institutions and battled addiction long before he released an album, and his troubled past informed the gritty content and inimitable delivery of his rhymes.

Simmons, who sold millions of records, was the first musician whose first five albums reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart. He was the standout artist on the Ruff Ryders label, often rapping over tracks by the star D.J. and producer Swizz Beatz. Rappers like Eve, Drag-On and the Lox, a group made up of Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch, also recorded on the label. He also starred in the Hype Williams gangster film “Belly” in 1998; appeared in the action movie “Romeo Must Die,” with Jet Li and Aaliyah, in 2000; and starred with Steven Seagal in the 2001 film “Exit Wounds.”

Born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Dec. 18, 1970, he was the first and only child of Arnett Simmons and Joe Barker. He grew up in Yonkers, a city just north of the Bronx that became a hotbed of racial tension in the 1980s.

He turned to street crime as he grew older, spending much of his childhood and teenage years in group homes or juvenile detention facilities, where he sometimes faced solitary confinement.

“I was straight stickup,” he said in a memoir, “E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX,” written with Smokey D. Fontaine. “I’d rob three times a day: before school, after school and on the late night.” Tap the link in our bio to read more about the life of DMX.

Photo by @emonhassan

Source; @nytimes

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