DMX mourned at New York memorial service

Thousands of motorcycles have surrounded a monster truck carrying the casket of rapper DMX to a memorial service in New York. A massive black big-wheel truck with the words “LONG LIVE DMX” on side of the vehicle carried his shiny red casket for more than 15 miles from Yonkers – where the rapper grew up – to the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn. A plethora of motorcycles trailed the truck during the procession before arriving at the arena, where thousands of people crowded the streets.

Among the speakers was Swizz Beatz and Nas, as well as his daughter, who rapped in honour of her father, while Kanye West and Busta Rhymes were among the big names who attended the two-hour ceremony, open to close friends and family only.

DMX died earlier this month after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest” (Brittainy Newman/AP)

In a touching moment, DMX’s 15 children gathered on stage to talk – and sometimes rap – about the star as a father who taught them such lessons as “always say thank you”, “be kind to everyone” and that being afraid can sometimes show a person how to be brave. “Our father is a king. Our father is an icon,” eldest son Xavier Simmons said, adding that he was honoured to be his son: “This man deepened my ability to love.”

Tashera Simmons, DMX’s ex-wife, told the audience: “Everything he did, he did for you all. He always wanted to please you. He always wanted to give you his best show.”

“What he wants you to do,” she said, “is love Jesus the same way he did. Love his babies. Love his family.”

West’s Sunday Service Choir kicked off the ceremony with a gospel performance.

The hoodie sweatshirt-wearing ensemble performed a few songs, including their arrangement of Excellent and Soul II Soul’s Keep On Movin’. The choir took the stage during other moments of the ceremony, performing Ultralight Beam and Whitney Houston’s assisted vocals on the hymn Jesus Loves Me. Nas reminisced about having a conversation with a teary-eyed DMX while filming a scene for Belly, a crime drama.

He said DMX became emotional knowing the rapper was about to embark on a journey to become a “hip-hop icon”.

DMX mourned at New York memorial serviceThe rapper will be buried on Sunday (Brittainy Newman/AP)

Nas said: “It’s a sad day as well as a glorious day. That was my brother. We did a great movie together.

On that movie, he was just rising up as a star. His first album didn’t even come out yet, but he knew his journey was starting.” DMX, whose birth name is Earl Simmons, died on April 9 aged 50 after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest”.

He spent several days on life support after being rushed to a New York hospital from his home on April 2.

His funeral service will be held on Sunday afternoon.