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DMX Marks Spot: Hip-Hop Legend Drops Final Track On Day He Dies

Earl Simmons, aka Dark Man X (DMX)
Earl Simmons, aka Dark Man X (DMX) Photo Credit: Instagram (courtesy Bootsy Collins)

“I make moves to get me where I’m going,” DMX announces on a unique track released just hours before the hardcore hip-hop artist and actor died on Friday.

DMX – whose real name was Earl Simmons – teamed up on “X Moves” with fellow legend Bootsy Collins, formerly of Parliament-Funkadelic, as well as Steve Howe, formerly of Yes and Asia, and Deep Purple dummer Ian Paice.

DMX, 50, had been on life support at White Plains Hospital since suffering an overdose-induced “catastrophic” heart attack at his Westchester home a week ago Friday.

"We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50-years-old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days," family members said in a statement.

"Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end," they added. "He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him."

The news saddened musicians and fans alike.

"My childhood and love for music would not have been the same without this man," actor Chriss Redd tweeted. "DMX was easily my favorite artist growing up. I had every album, every ruff Ryder song, followed any artist he endorsed. Man....RIP the dog. There will never be another like him."

The multi-platinum-selling rapper uses his distinctive deep growl on his final track, recorded on Cleopatra Record, as he declares that “it’s irrelevant how many rhymes you got/You ain’t got what I got/X marks the spot.”

You can sample the tune here:

X Moves

MAJOR NIMA

It comes amid controversy over the release by Def Jam, his former label, of two new compilations, “DMX: The Ruff Ryder” and “A Dog’s Prayers,” before his death.

DMX (Dark Man X) was frequently open about his battles with drugs and the law.

Just months ago, he told rapper Talib Kweli during the “People’s Party With Talib Kweli” that drugs “were a symptom of a bigger problem.

“There were things that I went through in my childhood where I just blocked it out,” he told Kweli, “but there’s only so much you can block out before you run out of space.

“I really didn’t have anybody to talk to about it. So often talking about your problems is viewed as a sign of weakness – when it’s actually one of the bravest things you can do.”

Simmons, who had a traumatic, abusive upbringing in Yonkers, began his musical career in the 1980s under the tutelage of producer Ready Ron.

Filling the gap left by the deaths of fellow rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, he emerged in 1998 with “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” which sold more than 250,000 copies within the first week.

DMX became the top artist signed to Columbia Records' Ruffhouse Records, achieving commercial and critical acclaim with the follow-up single "Ruff Ryders Anthem.”

Although Ruffhouse dropped him, DMX secured his hip-hop standing with the hit "Party Up (Up in Here)" and “What’s My Name” from his first album on Def Jam.

That record, "...And Then There Was X," was nominated for a best rap album of 1999 Grammy.

DMX recorded with, among others, Jay-Z and Ja Rule – the trio created the group Murder Inc. – as well as LL Cool J, Mase and even the rock band Sum 41.

He and Rule fell out, though, and conducted a public feud that ended at VH1's Hip Hop Honors years later.

DMX appeared in several films, including “Romeo Must Die,” “Belly,” “Exit Wounds,” “Cradle 2 Grave” and “Last Hour.” He started in the reality series “DMX: Soul of a Man” on BET and published a book of memoirs, “E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX.”

He'd also lived in, and lost, several homes -- in, among other locations, Fort Lee and Teaneck in New Jersey, South Carolina and Arizona, as well as most recently in Westchester.

Simmons spoken openly about a crack addiction, which he said began when he was 14. He’d also said he had bipolar disorder.

He was given Narcan and revived after he was found unresponsive in the parking lot of a Ramada Inn in Yonkers five years ago.

Simmons said he’d suffered an attack of bronchial asthma – a condition that gave him his signature growl.

Troubles with the law dogged Simmons for decades.

As a teenager, he’d been sent to a juvenile detention center in New York for stealing a junkyard dog. He and a cellmate escaped in 1986 before his mother forced Simmons to return and finish out his sentence.

He was back behind bars soon after his release, this time for carjacking.

Simmons racked up an adult criminal record that included arrests for animal cruelty, resisting arrest, tax evasion and parole violations, among other offenses.

These included a 1999 arrest in Fort Lee for weapons possession and for animal cruelty the same year after a dozen pit bulls were found at his home in Teaneck.

The legal woes didn’t affect his output. The hits kept coming – among them, "X Gon' Give It to Ya.”

A year in federal prison for tax evasion put a crimp in that, but DMX bounced back.

Last July, more than a half-million Instagram viewers watched live as he and Snoop Dogg faced off in a Verzuz match.

“The standard that I hold myself to is the same: Better than everything I hear,” he once said.

DMX was the father of fifteen children. He’d married childhood friend Tashera Simmons in 1999 and had four children with her during their 11-year marriage. They were separated after his first prison stretch.

Simmons’s youngest child, Exodus Summons, was born to his fianceé, Desiree Lindstrom five years ago this August.

“Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever,” his family said in Friday’s statement. “We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time.

“Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.”

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