Members of the Ruff Ryders in front of a DMX mural in the northern Bronx.

DMX’s final bark: We say farewell to “The Dog”

There has been a sudden boom in traffic on the corner of Burke and Holland avenues in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx. Locals, fans, tourists and the Ruff Ryders have flocked to the intersection to memorialize Hip Hop icon DMX.

“Where my dogs at?” According to the late, multi-platinum selling rapper, DMX, his “dogs” were his brothers and sisters from the “hood.” Well, his dogs done him proud. They were out in packs, celebrating his life and the impact that he made in the genre of Hip Hop music for the past 20 years.

“I was blessed and honored to get this piece done here by an amazing artist,” said Eddy “Blaze” De Jesus.

As the world continues to mourn his death, fans in the ‘Big Apple’ now have a place where they can pay their respect in the North Bronx.

Queens-based artist, Efren Andaluz [pronounced “on da loose”], painted a mural depicting DMX, right next to La Estrella Tropical Restaurant.

“It was an honor to paint this tribute to the late, great Earl “DMX” Simmons,” Andaluz said in his Instagram post. “He was the voice of my childhood. We will continue to mourn his loss but let us also celebrate his life.”

The Latin American restaurant is owned by “Blaze”. “Blaze” is a member of the Ruff Ryders.

With regards to the mural painted at his place of business, “Blaze”, had difficulty keeping his excitement to a minimum.

With X gone, “Blaze” wants people to see the good and not harp on X’s checkered past.

“Everybody has downfalls and he’s a good person, and showed love to everybody,” “Blaze” said.

The 50-year-old rapper/actor died on Friday, April 9, after suffering catastrophic cardiac arrest. DMX’s, real name was Earl Simmons. X’s stage name of DMX came to him after using an instrument at the boys’ group home with the same name. X used an Oberheim DMX drum machine. He also used the moniker “Dark Man X” as well.

ABC7, FOX5 and CBS2 reported that the heart attack was provoked by an overdose. X was rushed from his home on April 2, to White Plains Hospital. It was described that X had experienced cerebral hypoxia, prompting doctors to put him on life support. TMZ announced that X was in a vegetative state and by Thursday, April 8, X’s vital organs began to shut down.

X appeared in 15 movies, most notably, “Belly, Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds.”  Throughout his music career, he was signed to Columbia Records and Def Jam.

In 2000, X won the American Music Award for favorite artist in the “Hip-Hop/Rap” category. In the same year, he earned three Grammy Award nominations for “Best Rap Solo Performance”for, “Party Up [Up in Here]” and “Best Rap Album” for “…And Then There Was X.” The following year, he was nominated for another Grammy for “Best Rap Solo Performance” for the song “Who We Be.”

On Saturday, April 24, the “Ruff Ryders Anthem” MC was memorialized at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The service was open to friends, family and his music contemporaries.

The procession which originated in X’s hometown of Yonkers which ultimately concluded in Downtown Brooklyn was well attended. The trek was dubbed the “Final Ride”, in honor of X.

The Ruff Ryders along with other bikers flooded the streets of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes made up most of the traffic. A customized Ford F250 monster truck with the words “Long Live DMX,” painted on the side, brought the casket into the arena.

A vigil was held in honor of X on Wednesday, April 14, in Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is 15 minutes north of Norwood. X’s manager, Craig Broadhead, reminisced about the good times they spent together.

Broadhead disclosed that X’s charitable work went unnoticed, because X chose to keep it that way. According to Broadhead, X put several homeless people up in a Atlanta hotel for the night, while on tour.

“X is the people’s champ,” Broadhead said. “I keep telling everybody the same thing. It’s just a blessing for us. It does our heart good as we grieve his loss, to see the love from all over the country, the world. When he was here, he gave so much of himself to everyone.”

Ruff Ryder founder, Darrin “Dee” Dean, expressed gratitude and humility for the outpouring of love and support from the public.

During the memorial, rapper and LOX member and Jadakiss described X as being the “biggest piece on the board.”

Dean also acknowledged X’s impact outside of the recording studio.

“He served his purpose on earth because he’s not here no more, but he’s still here, cause you’re still talking about him,” he said. “So, that means he did something to make you remember him.”

Dean is also the uncle of music producer, Swizz Beatz.

On Sunday, April 18, another vigil was held in honor of X in Yonkers at the Nepperhan Community Center. Yonkers is a short ride from the North Bronx.

X was a member of the center as a child. His extended family confirmed that his passion for rocking the mic started in the basement of the center.

“We grew up right here on the corner of Warburton and Point, 321 Warburton,” said Raquel Holloway, X’s aunt. “We have a connection to the center, cause my mother was a part of the center, and as you may know, he loves Mary Ella Holloway, which is his grandmother.”

X’s cousin, Robin Holloway, said that the world knew him as “DMX,” but she prefers to remember him as Earl.

“He was more than that,” she said. “He was more than an artist to us. He was family. He would give you the shirt off his back in a snowstorm and then walk back by himself without shoes. He would pray for everybody.”

DMX is survived by his mother, Arnett Simmons, siblings, 15 children, along with all of their mothers [nine of them].

If you, or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP [4357].

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