DMX's Last Ride Comes In A Monster Truck Leading His Thousand-Motorcycle Funeral Procession

Illustration for article titled DMX's Last Ride Comes In A Monster Truck Leading His Thousand-Motorcycle Funeral Procession
Photo: Stephanie Keith (Getty Images)

Earl Simmons, known worldwide as DMX, had his last ride at a funeral procession in Brooklyn, New York in the back of a customized Ford F250 monster truck with “Long Live DMX” etched on the side. And that wasn’t all—his procession to the memorial service at the Barclays Center was accompanied by thousands of motorcycles that shut down traffic in New York City.

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DMX started rapping in the early 1990s, and he became known for a blend of raw passion that was right at home with his equally soul-searching bent. As The Ringer wrote, DMX’s approach was anti-commercial, but that was what caused it to resonate with his listeners. As it stands, he’s the only rapper in history to have his first five studio albums debut at No. 1, and he was the only living hip-hop artist to have two projects go platinum in a single year.

On April 2, 2021, it was reported that DMX had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital in a vegetative state. On April 9, he was pronounced dead at age 50.

DMX’s funeral procession and memorial service took place yesterday, on Saturday, April 24, 2021, and to celebrate the life of an icon required something special.

DMX’s shiny red coffin was driven to the Barclays Center in a Ford F250 decked out as a monster truck. We’re talking the full 20-ton axles and tractor tires, decked out on the side with the phrase “long live DMX” and on the hood and rear with the Ruff Ryders logo.

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Thousands of motorcycles took to the streets to accompany DMX on his final ride.

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While the memorial service itself was restricted to family and friends due to COVID-19, the event was livestreamed. His funeral will be livestreamed on both BET proper and its YouTube channel at 2:30pm ET today.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

DISCUSSION

shanemorris
Shane Morris

I booked DMX at a show in Atlanta around... I want to say it was Halloween 2011. Anyway, I didn’t really know what to expect. At that point in his career, DMX was something of a novelty name to add to a bill. Our other acts that night were all pretty standard EARMILK fare, and our audience was probably just old enough to have enjoyed him in middle school. Admittedly, the main reason we booked him was because it was a dirt-cheap name to add on. (I want to say his guarantee at that point was $2,000.)

He wasn’t at his best before the show. It was abundantly clear that he was under the influence of something, but I won’t venture a guess. It was one of those situations where he wasn’t doing a full set, just something of a “3-4 song add on” to a DJ that was already on stage.

About five minutes before his set, his demeanor changed, like someone had hit him with adrenaline. He turned into DMX. I mean like, barking, snarling, he was in the zone. So he runs out on stage at the right time, does his thing, Ruff Ryders Anthem is on, he’s got his hype man — it was insane. A bunch of white college kids from Atlanta just start losing it, they know all the words, everything is crazy, people are shaking water bottles... I mean, DMX knew how to really make a party go nuts.

... and in between bars, he was rushing off stage to hit his inhaler. No shit, I didn’t find out until after the show that he had asthma. Seriously. With all that vocal energy, DMX had asthma, so I guess that’s a lesson that if DMX can have the most powerful yell in all of music, bark for 90 minutes, and have an airway restriction, you can live out your dreams.

After the show, we were hanging out in the green room, and he was a normal dude. We ended up talking about HUD for about 30 minutes, as it seems he had an interest in reforming how housing projects were constructed. (No shit.) He went on this long rant about how the same people who build Section 8 housing are building all the private prisons (he’s not wrong), and it stuck with me. He wasn’t just stuck in music, and he had ideas about how to improve the world.

Rest in peace DMX. I didn’t know you well, but in that one night I got to hang with you, you were a real one.