It’s been one year since the tragic death of hip hop icon DMX. X’s extended family, the Ruff Ryders, are celebrating his life in Upstate New York with a slew of events.
According to News 12 Westchester, family and fans of the Yonkers-bred rapper kicked off the day at the Ruff Ryders studios.
He was a voice of people that didn’t have a voice,” Ruff Ryders co-founder Joaquin “Waah” Dean told News 12. “He walked in faith even though his struggle was wavy; he still had this power. He had faith in God. And he gave hope to the people.”
Around 10 a.m., the outlet reports members of the Ruff Ryders and many more rode to X’s gravesite in Oakland Cemetery where they held a prayer and released red balloons into the sky.
From the cemetery, the ride out continued to Nepperhan Community Center. The memorial celebration is expected to end on School Street where X grew up later tonight.
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In a Q&A interview with BET.com, Waah Dean shared his thoughts on the moment X was first hospitalized last April.
“We sent people to his house to check on him to make sure he was alright,” Waah recalled. “It was something we went through in the past with X. He’d been in the ambulance before and recovered, so I really didn’t take it there, like he wasn’t going to be with us. I was looking forward to him getting through this. It was a shocking thing, but nothing happens without the permission of God. We were just in prayer because it came out of nowhere for us. It was amazing that it happened just as we were finishing his album.”
Waah can be seen, via social media, at each stop on the Ruff Ryders ride out for X. He’s shaking hands in one IG post, hugging family members in another, and releasing a red balloon for his artist in one video.
Waah told BET.com that even though X had his internal demons, he “displayed his good, bad and ugly in front of the world.”
“And everybody don’t have the guts to do that. He exposed himself to the highest level and kept true to who he was,” waa said. “A lot of people hide behind the curtains. He never sold his soul for money or fame, and that’s why he became iconic.
“It was beautiful to take that journey and give this music to the world with X. Even though he had times when he didn’t wanna show up, he showed up and did his part. He became bigger than artists who had less problems than he did. X was the truth and he represented to the fullest. Most artists blow up and pass that peak in their careers where they’re no longer in the position they were in and they turn to everyone and anyone to get on. X was Ruff Ryders ‘til he died. And we rode with him, through the good, bad and the ugly.”
Check out video from the Ruff Ryders commemorative ride out for DMX below:
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