I had the pleasure of meeting DMX. I was dating a guy who was providing personal security for him. I had never heard of him even though he was wildly popular. When I got to meet him, sorta' kinda', we were in a van enroute to his concert.
I was in a van with him and his security team. The music, his music, was blasting. There was this guy in the front seat wearing a hooded top which was covering his head, bopping vigorously to the music and smoking weed with pure intention! Lawd' have mercy! We were in racist ass Boston and I'm thinking, I'm about to be arrested...
More hilarious however, I still didn't know who was the guy in the front seat. LOL! I whispered to my friend who gave me a "Really?" look and then I knew. DMX was in his world. I likened it to a boxer getting ready for a fight. He was in a zone. There was no talking in the van. It seemed understood that no one was to disturb his groove.
Two white vans left the hotel. One with him, which I was in. Another as a decoy to fool the groupies who had managed to find out which hotel he was in. It worked. A few were waiting outside the back entrance to the venue when we arrived but most seemed to have followed the decoy van.
I remember the night so well because here I was backstage with the likes of DMX, Eve, Cash Money and some others I had mostly never heard of or at least had no idea about their music. This was 1999 or 2000 so they were all hot, mind you, I was just clueless about rap. I have always been an old skool' kinda' girl. I remember thinking how thrilled some younger person would have been to be in my shoes at that moment. I remember thinking why couldn't this opportunity come to me with Frankie Beverly, Stevie Wonder, Aretha, Gladys and so many others. LOL!!!
The concert was packed! It was my first realization that rap/hip hop had crossed over in a very real way. Kids from all races were there. Music has always been a unifier. I remember noticing too, that while singing along with DMX, the white kids seemed to not join in when he turned the mic to the crowd and they were to say something using the word Ni**a. They mostly watched as the Black kids sang along. It was an interesting night on many fronts.
When he finished his performance, another decoy was used. DMX struck a pose and with a turn of a small section of the stage, hidden in a big cloud of smoke, DMX was swept away as the crowd went wild. When the cloud subsided, unbeknownst to the fans cheering for an encore, a look alike appeared wearing the same clothes, striking the same pose with his head bowed and a towel or something around his neck. I think the pose was a raised fist or something of the sort. DMX was long gone from the stage, safe in his dressing room. They had no idea.
The concert is over. Now I get to meet DMX. He is out of his zone. He is very friendly. He thought I looked like Oprah Winfrey. I used to hear that a lot back then. "The skinny Oprah", they would always say. LOL! It was the hair. We were in Boston so Bobby Brown was there with one of his sons. It was a nice evening.
He adored his fans as much as they adored him. Security had strict instructions not to touch them in any aggressive way. That meant they could swarm him, and swarm him they did. My friend made it clear to me, he said, "when I say move, you move. He is my client and I have to protect him". In other words, I can't be worrying about you. LOL!!! No time to be offended because once things were in motion, I fully understood.
We needed to get back to the van and although the concert had ended a little while ago, the fans were waiting. They bumrushed him as soon he appeared. As a locked arm unit, we had to keep moving forward. The force of the crowd was such that I was literally lifted off my feet and pushed along. Remember, I was skinny then. LOL!!! But that was some scary shit. I was thrilled to get back in the van. Fans untouched. We went back to the hotel. What a night!
He and Bobby Brown seemed to be really nice guys. Both are painted as bad boys. OK, they might have earned a little of that. But DMX was nothing short of kind and gracious. I hope good stories about him and the joy folks got from his music overshadow the bad tales that will be told.
Sad to see him go. May his soul have found peace.
Strolling down Memory Lane on a cloudy Saturday morning. Thank you for strolling with me...
Earl "DMX" Simmons
December 18, 1970 - April 9, 2021