The Tragedy Of DMX’s Youth

The following article includes mention of substance abuse and physical abuse.

As fans await updates on the health of rapper DMX following his reported overdose and heart attack on April 2, 2021, they may be wondering more about the music legend and his life. The three-time Grammy nominee has enjoyed a legendary music career, but things were not always bright for young Earl Simmons. DMX endured physical abuse from his mother, and later lived in a children’s home before falling into drug abuse as a teenager. DMX’s drug abuse and addiction troubles continued into adulthood, with the rapper being open about his struggles with addiction.

As for the state of the rapper’s health, DMX is on life support as of April 6, 2021, per The Independent. “DMX is currently on life support and in a coma,” DMX’s manager, Steve Rifkind, said in a statement given to the outlet. “There are multiple people with inaccurate information about his well-being and it is not helpful and productive.”

While fans await the results of DMX’s reported brain tests, here’s what to know about his younger, pre-fame days.

DMX's mother knocked out two of his teeth

Speaking to GQ in September 2019, the rapper shared that he still loves his mother, despite the fact that she physically abused him when he was a child. After he spotted and erased an error in an open notebook his mother left sitting out, DMX’s mother beat him with a broom, he told the magazine.

“I don’t know what she thought I was doing, but… I don’t know if she thought I was trying to sabotage her or whatever. I don’t know what she thought. But she beat two teeth out of my f***ing mouth with a broom,” DMX told the magazine. “And I think about this today, I’m like, ‘Okay, you saw me erase something in your notebook. What did you think I was trying to do? What could you have possibly thought I was trying to do?'”

DMX, then known by his birth name, Earl Simmons, also spent time at the Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial group home in Yonkers, but was kicked out after allegedly starting a fire, Page Six reported.

DMX's drug abuse started when he was just 14

During a 2020 conversation with Talib Kweli on his YouTube show People’s Party, the rapper explained that his troubles with drug use started when he was a teenager and an older figure gave him a joint that had been laced with crack cocaine.

“He passed the blunt around and… I hit the blunt,” DMX told Kweli. “I never felt like this before; it f***ed 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?”

The rapper also shared with Kweli that, during his upbringing, “talking about your problems [was] viewed as a sign of weakness.” Not having anyone to trust or turn to, DMX turned to drug use to fill the void.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA’s 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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