DMX endured a traumatic childhood rife with family struggles drugs – years before he had a heart attack “triggered by an overdose.”
The hip-hop legend known as “Ruff Ryder” is currently in a battle for his life and in a “vegetative state” at White Plains Hospital in New York while friends, family, and fans anxiously wait for an update.
The father-of-15 will reportedly undergo a series of critical brain function tests today, Wednesday, April 7.
But the musician did not have an easy start in life: troubled DMX was born on December 18, 1970, in Mount Vernon, NY, to artist Joe Barker and Arnett Simmons.
In 2019, he told GQ how his mom “beat two teeth out of my f**king mouth with a broom” when he was just six in a bombshell interview.
“Children don’t come with a f**king instruction manual,” he wrote, noting later that his mom was “incapable” of looking after him. “Four sisters; I’m the only boy. Maybe she didn’t know what to do with me.”
Things did not improve as he got older: he was expelled for fighting and hurling chairs at teachers at 10 and then booked for arson and assault.
At that point, DMX was sent to Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial children’s home in Yonkers for 18 months, just 20 minutes away from his mother and sisters.
According to Ralph Basui Watkins book “Hip-Hop Redemption: Finding God in the Rhythm and the Rhyme,” the embattled youngster was then kicked out for starting a fire with a roommate.
After returning home to his mother’s house, DMX would often run away to escape her alleged abuse and boyfriends to sleep in Salvation Army clothing bins.
In the emotional song “Slippin,'” DMX says: “Group homes and institutions, prepare my ass for jail / They put me in a situation forcin’ me to be a man / When I was just learnin’ to stand without a helpin’ hand.”
The 2009 rap also mentions how there would be “no more getting high drinking forties” because he had a son.
He reportedly found comfort in befriending stray dogs during his turbulent teenage years but by 14, he was introduced to hard drugs.
Speaking to Talib Kweli on the “People’s Party” podcast last November 2020, DMX described how as a teen, a man he trusted “passed the [marijuana] blunt around and … I hit the blunt” – an incident referenced in his song “Pain.”
He went on: “I never felt like this before. It f**ked me up. I later found out that he laced the blunt with crack. Why would you do that to a child?”
“He was, like, 30, and he knew I looked up to him. Why would you do that to someone who looks up to you?”
“Letting some of this stuff out [has helped],” he told Kweli. “I really didn’t have anyone to talk to about it because [growing up] in the hood, nobody wants to hear that.”
“Nobody even wants to help with talking,” he added, explaining that this was often perceived as a sign of weakness.
“But talking is actually one of the bravest things you can do. One of the bravest things you can do is let it out.”
During this candid virtual chat, DMX also discussed his prison experience and drug addiction.
He also opened up about his lifelong love of dogs and how he stole his first pup, slowly earning its trust.
Speaking to Houston Press in 2011, his then manager Nakia Walker noted that “Earl is a person who still holds onto a lot of things he suffered in the past, as a child.”
“He holds onto things, instead of talking about things and releasing. He expresses himself through his music,” she said, years before he would battle for his life after a suspected overdose.
As the rapper battles for his life, some of his 15 children attended the vigil outside the hospital this week but only one of his kids can see him at a time due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The 50-year-old’s fiancee, Desiree Lindstrom, his ex-wife Tashera Simmons, who he has four kids with, and another mother of his children Yadira Borrego were all in attendance, along with DMX’s sons, Xavier and Exodus.
Last Saturday, TMZ reported that the “Where the Hood At” rapper was in a critical condition after an overdose at his home at around 11pm on Friday night.