Why DMX Once Said Aaliyah Was ‘Sexy, but Kind of Gangster’

Aaliyah and DMX became celebrities around the same time. The “One In A Million” singer was a global music star and actor before she died from a plane crash in 2001. Twenty years later, Dark Man X, born Earl Simmons, passed away at age 50 on April 9, 2021. Before his death, the Grammy-nominated rapper spoke about Aaliyah’s personality. 

A side-by-side photo of rapper DMX and singer Aaliyah
(L-R): DMX and Aaliyah|Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation,Sal Idriss/Redferns

DMX and Aaliyah’s song came out in 2000

During the late 1990s, DMX and Aaliyah were at the top of their game. Both artists received mainstream success with hits such as “Party Up (Up In Here)” and “Back & Forth,” respectively. The performers also discovered a knack for acting at the height of their careers., DMX made his acting debut in the film Belly. Two years later, Aaliyah booked her first role in the action movie Romeo Must Die

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Before production began on Romeo Must Die, the “4 Page Letter” songstress approached DMX about acting in the film. Impressed by her willingness to meet him in person, the rapper accepted a supporting character role. However, due to their fame, the artists collaborated on a song for the movie’s soundtrack. Their song, “Come Back in One Piece,” debuted in 2000. In 2011, DMX spoke to The Juice about taking Aaliyah to his hometown of Yonkers, New York, to shoot the video, per Billboard

“We did the video in Mount Vernon and Yonkers,” DMX recalled. I got to bring Aaliyah to the hood. Not many people can say that.” 

What DMX thought was ‘sexy, but kind of gangster’ about Aaliyah

Shortly after Romeo Must Die, DMX and Aaliyah worked on other projects. However, the rapper often discussed their close relationship in interviews. In 2001, Aaliyah died while traveling home from shooting a music video in the Bahamas. The singer was 22. 

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Although Aaliyah was notoriously aloof in public, her calmness attracted many of her fans, including DMX. In his interview with The Juice, the rapper said that Aaliyah’s real-life persona and TV presence was something he found to be “sexy.” 

“She had a presence on TV that was incredible,” DMX said. “It was sexy but kind of gangster.”

“She was easy to talk to and down to earth,” he continued. “Aaliyah made you feel comfortable, with her and with yourself. That’s one hell of a combination.”

The rapper once said no artist compares to Aaliyah

Since Aaliyah died, many artists such as Beyoncé and Ciara have drawn comparisons to the “Rock the Boat” singer. However, DMX shared that he doesn’t see any artists who could compete with Aaliyah thus far. Before he died, the “Where the Hood At” rapper declared that his friend was one of the best performers in the music industry. 


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“Half these chicks that are doing it right now wouldn’t be doing it,” DMX said in 2011. “Aaliyah would be on top.” “As far as I’m concerned, she’s still on top.”