Natalie St. Denis
At the age of 50, rapper Earl Simmons, known as DMX (Dark Man X), died April 9. DMX had been on life support since suffering a heart attack in his New York home April 2. His heart attack was reportedly caused by a drug overdose.
Freshman computer science major, Yash Ugavekar has been a fan of DMX since listening to his song “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” from “Deadpool” in 2016. Hearing of his death made a lasting impact on him.
“Honestly, I felt the same amount of sadness when I heard that Kobe Bryant died or when Chadwick Boseman died because he was at the same level of influencing people as those two,” Ugavekar said.
DMX was popular during the 90s and early 2000s. Some of his many hits were “X Gon’ Give It to Ya,” “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem” and “Where The Hood At.” His 1998 debut album, “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” was certified four times Multi-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of American in 2000.
DMX even had an acting career. These films included “Romeo Must Die” in 2000 and “Cradle 2 The Grave” in 2003.
Now that DMX’s name is in news headlines. People are learning his legacy and discovering his music. Ugavekar mentioned a similar thing happened to him when rapper Juice WRLD died and regretted not knowing his music earlier. This was also common after Mac Miller’s death. A shadow of guilt often drapes those who hadn’t discovered an artist’s work before their death.
DMX influenced hip hop with his unique tone and style. He also had dangerous and unpredictable lyrics, as Ugavekar put it.
“I always wanted to hear that type of music. It was very dangerous and very gritty,” Ugavekar said. “It gave a certain adrenaline rush to it. When you hear the songs, you want to go work out, you want to go run, something like that.”
As popular as DMX’s music was, his struggles with addiction and the law were equally, if not more, known. DMX went to jail for various incidents, such as charges of drug possession, robbery, probation violation and driving without a license.
Ugavekar explained that the reputation DMX carried may prevent others from being fans. But it must be said that it did not define him.
“I don’t expect everyone to be a fan of DMX because he used to be a gangster back in his young days,” Ugavekar said. “But he has improved from then. People might see him as a dangerous person, but he’s not. He’s one of the people who won’t let fame or money change him, and he’ll still remember his roots.”
DMX canceled his tour in 2019 to seek treatment for his addiction.
In an interview with GQ Magazine, DMX said, “I just need to have a purpose and I don’t even know that purpose because God has given me that purpose since before I was in the womb, so I’m going to fulfill that purpose.”
This optimism is a big part of DMX’s legacy that Ugavekar among many others hope will live on.
“DMX’s legacy is don’t let money or fame change you, don’t let the ego get to you, just stay the person who you are and don’t let the past affect your future,” Ugavekar said.