DMX honored with a special tribute at the 2021 BET Awards

Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes and more perform moving medley of hits by the Grammy-nominated rapper, who died in April.

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The 2021 BET Awards ended on a bittersweet note, with an all-star tribute to rapper DMX. The tribute was curated by friend and longtime collaborator Swizz Beatz, as reported by TheGrio.

The annual award ceremony closed with an ‘In Memoriam’ montage of Black creatives who have passed away since the previous award show, including Cicely Tyson, Chadwick Boseman, and Paul Mooney. The last image in the montage was of DMX, who died at the age of 50 on April 9 after suffering a heart attack, as reported by TheGrio.

Method Man began the tribute, performing an a cappella version of “Where My Dogs At,” the first single from DMX’s 1998 number one album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. As the Wu Tang MC spit the verse, he was flanked by Ruff Ryders Records founders and Swizz Beatz’s uncles, Joaquin “Waah” Dean and Darrin “Dee” Dean.

From there, the tribute continued with Buffalo’s Griselda Records rappers Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn, and Benny The Butcher performing their new collaboration with DMX, “Hood Blues,” which is featured on his final album, Exodus, released on May 28.

The rappers added the chorus of DMX’s 2003 hit, “Where the Hood At.”

Next up was a spoken word interpretation of “Slippin'” and his feature verse on Jay-Z’s “Money Cash Hoes” by The Wire actor Michael K. Williams. He was wearing a Black tank top, camouflage pants, and Timberland boots in recognition of DMX’s outfit in the video and his signature style.

BET Awards 2021 - Show
(L-R) Spliff Star, Busta Rhymes, and Swizz Beatz perform at the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)

As Williams performed, the camera panned to shots of DMX’s children in the audience, who put X’s in the air in tribute to their father.

The musical homage kicked into a higher gear when Swizz Beatz and Jadakiss emerged to perform the remix to “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” the breakout single produced by Swizz that made DMX a star in 1998.

The energy stayed up when Busta Rhymes came to the stage with Spliff Star to lend his trademark animated style to one of DMX’s biggest singles, “Party Up (Up In Here).”

DMX performs at Masters Of Ceremony 2019 at Barclays Center on June 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

The tribute was poignantly capped by DMX’s voice, in prayer, along with photos of the rapper projected onto screens. The images were also accompanied by a single violin player while all the performers stood together, crossing their arms to form an ‘X’ in honor of the MC.

A man who gave honor to God during his life, DMX’s pre-recorded prayer ended with the words, “You gave me a love most of my life I didn’t know was there. I give you my life because you cared. Amen.”

Watch the performance below:

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