The life and music of late rapper Earl “DMX” Simmons was celebrated at a memorial service at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 24. The event was closed to the public and restricted to close friends and families, but thousands filled the streets outside the Fort Greene arena to celebrate the late rapper’s life.
The procession began Saturday morning in Yonkers, the birthplace of the hip-hop icon, who died on April 9 at the age of 50. A gigantic monster truck painted with the words “Long Live DMX” carried the musician’s bright red coffin to the Barclays Center, followed by thousands of bikers, ATVs, and luxury cars.
Brandon from Queens was one of the bikers who participated in the procession.
“I love it. His death just is something that just came out of nowhere. He was somebody that meant a lot to a whole lot of people — that’s why we all came out to show how much we love him,” Brandon said.
Outside Barclays, people danced to the music of DMX, which blared from some vehicles and motorcycles, bringing the procession to a stop at times.
Christine took the day off to attend the memorial service outside the Barclays. She came all the way from Patterson, New Jersey, to show her respect to the late rapper, her all-time favorite.
“It’s a historical moment. I’m here to celebrate his life,” she said.
Friends Damian, Sam, and Jeff from Long Island accompanied the procession from Yonkers, and agreed that the turnout was great.
“I think it’s great. I had a lot of fun. I thank the NYPD for closing the streets and keeping us safe,” said Damian. “I didn’t expect it to be like this, but it was great. It was an awesome experience.”
Fans remembered DMX as an “innovator” of his genre.
“His music was stuff you could relate to. His music had longevity and truth,” said Ruff Ryder member Troy Porter.
“His lyrics spoke to everyone standing here. He was as real as they come,” added fan Angel Pegan.
“I had all of his albums. Every one of them helped me get through a terrible time in my life,” said Mike Richards.
“We can all learn from his song ‘Stop Being Greedy,'” Shaniqua Rogers added. “We all have enough in life.”
With reporting by Lloyd Mitchell
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.