With music and heartfelt tributes, family and close friends remembered DMX Saturday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
The “Celebration of Life” opened with a previously-recorded prayer from DMX and Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir performing Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life” and “Keep On Movin’.”
The memorial, which had been scheduled to start at 4pm ET, got underway around 6:40pm ET.
More than 200,000 fans watched the livestream on DMX’s YouTube channel. The late rapper, who was born Earl Simmons, was honored by his 15 children, who gathered on stage.
“He was the best dad ever,” one of the rapper’s young sons said. “Now, I’m really sad because we have lost an icon.” DMX’s daughter then performed a rap in her late father’s honor.
Among those attending were members of the Ruff Ryders collective, including Swizz Beatz, Eve, Drag-On, and The Lox.
“I am seriously the luckiest woman in the world to have known DMX as the man that I knew — a man, a father and a friend,” Eve said. “This is so hard y’all. What I pray is that his journey was smooth. I know that he will rest in power, rest in love, but most of all, he will rest in peace.”
DMX’s ex-wife, Tashera Simmons, told the audience, “Everything he did, he did for you all. He always wanted to please you. He always wanted to give you his best show.”
New York rapper Nas shared a story about filming the 1998 movie Belly with DMX.
“It’s a sad day as well as a glorious day,” Nas said. “That was my brother. We did a great movie together. On that movie, he was just rising up as a star. His first album didn’t even come out yet, but he knew his journey was starting.”
Fans lined the streets outside the memorial service, which required an invitation because of COVID-19 capacity restrictions. A red casket carrying the legendary rapper arrived on the back of a black monster truck with “Long Live DMX” written on the side. Members of the Ruff Ryders motorcycle club followed behind.
The rap legend died at age 50 on April 9 after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest.”
The “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” artist was born in 1970 and grew up in Yonkers, New York. He began rapping as a kid and in 1998 released his first studio album titled “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.”
Over the years, he released a total of seven albums, earned three Grammy Award nominations and took home an American Music Award in 2000 for favorite rap/hip-hop artist.
In addition to music, DMX had a successful movie career with roles in Romeo Must Die (2000), Exit Wounds (2001) and Cradle 2 the Grave (2003).
The rapper’s funeral will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast live on BET.