DMX will be remembered for his soul-bearing music, unwavering sincerity, and the demons that followed him for much of the late rapper’s 50 years on of life. But he also carved out a niche for himself as what one Twitter user astutely dubbed “The Bill Murray of Hip-Hop,” a charming figure always popping up in places you’d never expect. Though the darker side of X came across in his violent, at times controversial lyrics, the person many recalled in the aftermath of his death was a figure of light and benevolence.
Stories of encounters with DMX have been shared widely by fellow artists, movie co-stars, and regular people whose days were made a little brighter by running into Earl Simmons. In these anecdotes, he comes off as sweet, excitable and compassionate — someone who was more in tune with everyday people than your average A-lister.
Here are some of the best memorials that have been shared about the fiery rapper and his indomitable spirit.
Meeting a woman and her stepdaughter on the plane striking up conversation with a woman and her stepdaughter and inviting them to his show:
When news of DMX’s hospitalization broke, one of the first stories to spread online was from Jennifer Fraser, who shared themoving encounter she and her stepdaughter had with the man behind “Where the Hood At?” in 2016.
In a well-paced string of tweets, Fraser recalls meeting DMX on a flight to San Diego and making chit chat about social media as well as parenting and the effects of incarceration. After the flight, the rapper invited Fraser and her step-daughter to his show, picked them up in a private SUV, and had them sitting on stage; he even tagged Fraser in a social media post It’s a charming story that once again highlights DMX’s innate kindness.
Taking a toy tour of London.
In 2003, DMX was one of the biggest rap stars in the world, slated to perform at the MOBO Awards, where he would bring “X Gon’ Give it to Ya” to face-mashing life. Before the show, according to photographer Jamie-James Medina, X wanted to drive despite his lack of familiarity with British roads. He ultimately led his group to a quaint shop filled with toy trains, radio control cars, and model airplanes.
“It’s hard to explain just how surreal it was to see a hip-hop artist from Yonkers, New York, surrounded by Scalextrics,” Medina wrote on Instagram.
Afterwards, X made friends with a family and their child at another store, and they went to Hyde Park so they could fly a Firebird XL, a popular Remote Control plane which X assembled himself. Police quickly put a damper on the toy plane’s flight, citing post-9/11 security measures, but “DMX was having too much fun,” Medina said. DMX made sure to sign the plane and give it to the young man.
That time a butterfly taught DMX a life lesson that he shared on Drink Champs:
DMX’s two-and-a-half-hour interview on the Drink Champs podcast is packed with wisdom, reflection, and sobering stories from his life and times in the music industry. But perhaps the most poignant anecdote DMX shared was about chasing a monarch butterfly when he was a young child.
Ferociously determined, even as a kid, he inadvertently trampled his neighbor’s flower garden in pursuit of the insect, which died quickly after he caught it and put it in a jar. Regret still apparent in his tone, X zoomed all the way out to share an important universal lesson: “The beauty that’s in the world, appreciate it. That’s it,” he said. “It’s not yours. How the fuck are you gonna keep something that ain’t yours?”
Watching Golden Girls with Gabrielle Union and gifting her a puppy.
Gabrielle Union, who starred with the late rapper in the action thriller Cradle 2 the Grave in 2003, shared a heartfelt tribute that included some of their bonding activities on set. In addition to reiterating that DMX loved Golden Girls, Union wrote that they went go-karting, bowling, and chatted about “80s soul music” with castmate Anthony Anderson.
She also revealed that the two stars actually had puppy siblings. “We had litter mate dogs that you bought at 4 a.m. on set in Long Beach. You got Pebbles and Bam Bam, and I got my beloved Bubba,” she wrote. Bubba passed away in 2012. DMX’s love of dogs is well-documented, to the point that Murda Mook once claimed that he even taught one of his pets to do ad-libs while he battled other MCs.
Picking up a concert promoter’s son from school.
While being interviewed on 85 South Show, Curren$y shared another story of DMX not only driving himself around before a show (clearly a favorite pastime of the Dark Man), but surprising the concert promoter’s son by arriving at his school and signing him out for release. The legendary New Orleans rapper said he couldn’t “remember the story verbatim,” but it’s clearly the kind of endearing, eccentric behavior that X often demonstrated.
“[He] still did the show, smashed the show. The kid was so young that the school couldn’t even really grasp what was happening,” Curren$y says. “Fucking DMX is there just signing him out.” The young man even still has the pictures to prove it.
The guest of honor at an Albanian wedding.
In 2013, DMX was performing in Kosov, when he learned that the hotel where he was staying was hosting a wedding. A beaming X can be seen having a ball dancing with the locals, his bomber jacket and hoodie combination tastefully complementing the suits and dresses. The video spread so far that even Albanian pop superstar Dua Lipa shared it on social media as a tribute to X.
Taking charge of an IHOP kitchen.
Not a ton more to this one, but according to Twitter user Nick Muldoon, in 2015 DMX popped up at a Buffalo IHOP and served what TMZ reported was “a mean chicken fajita omelette.” On a similar note, another TMZ report pegged him helping clean up at a South Carolina Waffle House location. “The minute you get too big to mop a floor or wipe a counter, that’s the exact minute you have life fucked up,” he reportedly said.
Helping a fan forgive their father.
Blogger and social media professional Sheila Matthews shared her moving encounter with DMX, whose heartfelt words helped her to make peace with a parent. Like X himself, Matthews’ father battled addiction, and it’s clear the rapper was talking from a place of empathy and understanding.
“We spoke about addiction and he encouraged me to forgive my father for what he couldn’t control. He said ‘Forgive him.’ I needed to hear that,” Matthews wrote. “Of all people, it came from someone I grew up listening to [because] of my dad.”
Skating with Tony Hawk.
The beloved skater posted a picture of himself and X when they were on a skate tour in Vegas. According to Hawk, “‘Party Up’ was our anthem to the first Gigantic Skatepark Tour.’” (It was also the anthem to everything else in 2001). Hawk called X “affable and very gracious with his time,” and he even encouraged fellow skater Bucky Lasek to perform a trick over him on his board.
Speaking with a group of unhoused men in Philadelphia.
X always had a gift for connecting with people who had experienced hardship, and in 2017 he talked to a group of unhoused men through Philadelphia’s Ready Willing & Able organization. “When I speak to people, I look them in their eyes. And as I look across the room, I see myself. I’ve been in difficult situations,” he said, noting the very day they were speaking was the anniversary of the time he was briefly legally dead. “I realized that God gave me another chance, so when i woke up this morning and realized this was that day, I said, ‘Who can I be an inspiration to? Who can I be some form of motivation to?’”