Master P Says 'Drugs Killed a Lot of Our Great Ones' — Urges Music Industry to Focus on Prevention
"DMX is an icon and I just hate that we have to wait 'till something happens to one of these guys, or to one of us, before everybody really starts saying how much they care," Master P said
Master P is asking the music industry to better support artists who may be battling with substance abuse. The hitmaker, né Percy Miller, 50, expressed his concerns to TMZ after DMX was hospitalized on Friday following a heart attack he suffered at his home around 11 p.m. that night. It remains unclear whether the medical emergency was triggered by a drug overdose.
The Grammy Award-nominated rap star (born Earl Simmons), also 50, who has been open about his battles with substance abuse, is still a patient at White Plains Hospital in New York where he was resuscitated and placed on life support last week.
"DMX is an icon and I just hate that we have to wait 'till something happens to one of these guys, or to one of us, before everybody really starts saying how much they care and they love you," Master P told the outlet.
"We have to figure out how to prevent that," added the star. "Drugs done killed a lot of our great ones and sent a lot of them to prison and I'm praying for DMX and his family."
"I hope that people start celebrating these icons while they're alive," Master P explained. "Imagine all the stuff we could've prevented for DMX, to help him."
"There will never be another DMX, he's one of a kind," Master P said.
"I feel like hip-hop needs some type of union," Master P emphasized. "The NBA has it. [We have to ask ourselves,] 'What happens when a guy falls off?' After he done sold millions of records, even a female. 'What happens?' … Think about it."
"[In] the NBA, when they're done [playing basketball], they go to SportsCenter, they can sit around, [but] where do hip-hop [stars] go?" he asked.
(Many hip-hop stars pursue various business ventures amid, and after, their careers — including Master P, who founded No Limit Records.)
But DMX — who has landed roles on the big and small screen amid his career — has battled substance abuse through the years, which he said began when he was about 14, after an adult he viewed as a role model laced his marijuana with cocaine.
During his appearance on People's Party with Talib Kweli in November, the Cradle 2 the Grave star vividly recalled the incident that subsequently triggered his decades-long battle with addiction.
"I loved this guy like an older brother, I didn't have any brothers," Simmons began before fighting back tears as he continued, "But this guy ... He introduced me to what would be the best part of my life, which would be the rap, but he also [introduced me to drugs]. The thing with my life, it's blessed with a curse and the curse aspect of it was — Like I said, I didn't smoke cigarettes, I didn't smoke weed. I didn't do anything, I was 14 years old ... I never felt like this before. I later found out that he laced the [cannabis] with crack."
"Why would you do that to a child?" DMX said. "He was like 30 and he knew how I looked up to him ... Why would you do that somebody who looks up to you?"
On Wednesday, the hitmaker was set to undergo a series of tests to determine his level of brain function and activity following the heart attack he suffered last week.
"We are just waiting on the doctors to tell us what the next steps are," his manager, Steve Rifkind, told PEOPLE.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.