Method Man's BET Awards tribute to DMX was his chance to say goodbye: 'The brother's heart was so big'
The Ruff Ryders rolled up for one of their own on Sunday night.
The late, great DMX was honored at the 2021 BET Awards, with Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Swizz Beatz, Griselda, and Michael K. Williams performing on stage. They did renditions of his iconic tracks like "Slippin'," "Where The Hood At?," "Ruff Ryders' Anthem," and "Party Up," before they and the audience raised their fists up for a final salute to DMX, who died in April.
Ahead of the tribute, Method Man spoke to EW about taking part in the segment, his relationship with DMX (real name Earl Simmons), and what he believes is the rapper's legacy.
The "Bring the Pain" rapper said it was a no-brainer after he got the phone call about joining the tribute: "I said yeah. Hell yeah." Method Man also said he wanted to take the opportunity to bid a proper goodbye to DMX.
"There were so many people that DMX impacted through his journey, so many people that knew him as he went from Earl to DMX that they could have chose to be there," he told EW. "The fact that they chose me, again, I am honored, it's a privilege. And I didn't get to say goodbye at his wake or at his funeral, even though I was invited. This would be a nice way for me to say farewell."
The two got to work together numerous times, including touring with Jay-Z, Ja Rule, and Redman, and starring in the 1998 film Belly, for which they recorded the track "Grand Finale" with Ja Rule and Nas.
And though Method Man has worked with many artists over the years, he says, "With X it was an exceptional relationship, because we actually hung out with him on a human level, on a regular person basis. Outside of being a star or famous or anything with that, just X, who he is. He's always who he is."
Method Man recalled that when DMX was shooting the 2001 film Exit Wounds with Steven Seagal in Canada, DMX requested for him and a Def Jam rep to fly out there because he wanted "somebody from back home to chill with at that moment."
"I got the call, and anybody that knew X wanted to show up for X, cause the brother's heart was so big," he said.
DMX was also grounded when it came to his artistry, and Method Man said the "Where the Hood At?" rapper didn't approve when he perceived music was becoming more about "style over substance."
"X hated when people took the art form for less than what it was, and that's not knocking anybody that was around at that time, or anybody right now, but X was more about the streets," Method Man said. "He was more about being grounded. And he saw the game going in an area where it was more style over substance, more quantity over quality. And it turned him off from it because he took a hard road to get there. So I know how X feel about that, like everybody should have to take that same road in order to cut your teeth as a true artist."
Method Man considers X a huge inspiration, saying the late rapper "kept me grounded" and "reminded me of where I came from and where I could go."
He also spoke about how he wants X to be remembered as a person, not just a musician: "He was a man of faith, big time. He always put God first, but his best friend, until the end, was his dog."
Interview by Tyler Aquilina