NEW YORK — Manhattan turned to Hollyhood on Monday night as celebrities, their friends and family came out to celebrate the release of the DMX and Jet Li action flick "Cradle 2 the Grave."
Busta Rhymes, DMC, Eric B. and the film's co-stars Tom Arnold, Mark Dacascos, Kelly Hu and Drag-On were among those converging on the storied Ziegfeld movie theater for the premiere. (Click for photos from "Cradle 2 the Grave.")
Jet Li walked the red carpet, but did not attend the screening. Just as well: DMX, whose entourage looked to include half of Yonkers, needed all the seats he could get.
"DMX!" the MC-turned-actor yelled back at the fans, who were sitting toward the rear of the theater calling out to him. People had been waiting for over an hour for the wordsmith so the film could start. When he finally got there, they had to wait a few minutes longer.
"That's my mans, they with me!" X, now sitting in a row filled with his family, told movie ushers who were trying to get his bodyguards to sit down. They were standing up, lining part of the aisle.
When things finally settled down and show time hit, so did the screams.
Eminem's voice showered the auditorium with lyrics from "Go to Sleep" as the opening credits flashed across the screen: "I ain't gonna eat/ I ain't gonna sleep/ Ain't gonna breathe, til I see, what I wanna see" (see "Eminem, DMX Team Up For 'Cradle 2 The Grave' Soundtrack"). Finally, when DMX's first scene came on, people yelled louder.
As the closing credits rolled almost 90 minutes later, buses were waiting outside to take the crowd to the after-party at Capitale. Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown, the Cash Money Millionaires, Blu Cantrell, Ginuwine, long-forgotten MC Nine, actor Daryl "Chill" Mitchell and such Ruff Ryder family members as Jadakiss all partook in the festivities.
An open bar and three buffet lines (chicken, potatoes, biscuits and sliced beef were among the choices) kept the people full while Funkmaster Flex spun records. When they weren't indulging in food or posting up on the wall politicking, fans and celebs like "Cradle 2 the Grave" co-star Gabrielle Union, "Antwone Fisher" co-star Joy Bryant and BET's "106 & Park" co-host AJ danced not only on the dance floor but also on the couches in the VIP section.
DMX decided not to attend the after-party, but he did have ample representation. The first artist off of his Bloodline imprint, Bazaar Royale, performed a handful of songs, including "What's It All For?," which is on the soundtrack to "Cradle 2 the Grave."
Undoubtedly, more festivities surrounding X movie releases will happen within the next year. He's currently in Los Angeles filming "Never Die Alone," in which he plays a drug lord.
"Cradle 2 the Grave" opens in theaters on Friday.