During Sunday's show, BET honored the late rapper with a special tribute performance

By Vanessa Etienne and Sarah Michaud
June 28, 2021 12:31 AM
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DMX's legacy in hip-hop was honored with a special tribute during the 2021 BET Awards.

During Sunday's show, the life of DMX - né Earl Simmons - was celebrated with a performance curated by longtime friend and producer Swizz Beatz. He was joined on stage by Busta Rhymes, Method Man, and Griselda for a medley of the late rapper's songs, including a special appearance by Michael K. Williams.

The tribute featured some of DMX's iconic hits from his time with label Ruff Ryders, including "Slippin'," "Party Up," "What's My Name?," "Where the Hood At?," "MY N**** / X Gon' Give It to Ya," "Get at Me Dog," "Ruff Ryders' Anthem," and "DMX Prayer." The star-studded show also included new songs from DMX's posthumous Def Jam album, Exodus, which was released May 28.

DMX tribute
DMX tribute
| Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty

It ended with a voiceover from DMX as a violinist took the stage. "And still you gave me love," the late rapper was heard saying, "I love you like you love me - unconditionally."

DMX died Friday, April 9 at White Plains Hospital in New York, one week after he was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack and put on life support. He was 50.

Born Dec. 18, 1970 in Baltimore, Maryland, the rapper released 15 Billboard Hot 100 megahit songs, including "Party Up (Up In Here)" which peaked at No. 27 on the list and charted for 21 weeks. Going platinum 14 times in the U.S. and selling more than 74 million records worldwide, DMX earned several nominations throughout his decades-long career, including Billboard Music Award, Grammy Award, Soul Train Music Award, and MTV Video Music Award nominations. In 2000, he won the American Music Award for favorite artist in the hip-hop rap category. 

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"DMX inspired fans around the world with his signature raspy voice, the delivery of raw emotion through his lyrics and performances, and his giving spirit," Connie Orlando, executive vice president of specials, music programming and music strategy at BET said in a statement. "We are proud to pay our respects to a hip-hop legend on our biggest stage, the BET Awards."

Dmx
DMX
| Credit: Jonathan-Mannion

In DMX's final recorded interview before his death, the rapper looked back on his life and legacy, saying he was grateful for helping to launch a music industry "movement" and for "every moment" of his life.

"I'm going to look back on my life, just before I go, and thank God for every moment," DMX said in the clip. "It's those moments, when they come together, that you see the beauty in who you are and why you are."

The 2021 BET Awards are airing live at 8 p.m. ET on BET. Viewers without a cable subscription can tune in to watch BET on certain packages with several streaming services, including YouTube TVHulu with Live TVSling TVFubo TV and Philo.