DMX at the 79th Annual Academy Awards Children Uniting Nations/ Billboard afterparty, 25 February 2007
|Birth name||Earl Simmons|
|Born||December 18, 1970
Mount Vernon, New York
|Origin||Yonkers, New York, United States|
|Genres||Hardcore hip hop|
|Years active||1990 – Present|
|Labels||Ruff Ryders, Bodog, Bloodline|
|Associated acts||Ruff Ryders, Swizz Beatz, Drag-On, Sheek Louch, Styles P, Jadakiss, Eve, Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Eminem, Mic Geronimo|
Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), better known by his stage name DMX (Dark Man X), is an American entertainer who rose to fame in the late 1990s. His stage name pays tribute to the Oberheim DMX drum machine, an instrument he used when he made his own rap beats in the 80's. To date, his best-selling album is his 1999 album ...And Then There Was X, which featured the hit single "Party Up (Up in Here)". As an actor, he also starred in the films Belly, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 The Grave, Romeo Must Die and Last Hour, and his own reality television series Soul of a Man on the American cable television network BET. In 2002, DMX wrote an autobiographical book titled E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX. He also has an extensive arrest record.
DMX was born in Mount Vernon, New York and relocated early in his childhood to Yonkers, a city just north of New York City. He spent much time on the streets committing crimes. However, he considered hip hop to be an escape from his hard times, as he enjoyed beatboxing, turntablism, and eventually rapping. He spent much of his adolescence in and out of jail.
In 1991, The Source magazine praised him in its "Unsigned Hype" column, which highlighted unsigned hip-hop artists. Later, he was signed to the Columbia Records subsidiary Ruffhouse in 1992; under that label he released his debut single "Born Loser", which did not get much airplay. However, Ruffhouse promoted many other artists on its roster rather than DMX and so agreed to release him from his contract eventually. In 1994, he released a second single, "Make a Move", followed by a guest spot on Mic Geranimo's "Time To Build" along with a young Jay-Z and Ja Rule.
In 1997, he made a successful guest appearance on LL Cool J's "4, 3, 2, 1." Additional guest spots on Mase's "24 Hours to Live" and "Take What's Yours", and The LOX's "Money, Power & Respect" created an even stronger buzz.
In 2010, he was named the National Rainbow Coalition's "Tolerance Fighter" of the year for his hit single "Where the Hood at".
In May 1998, he released his debut major-label single under Def Jam Recordings, "Get At Me Dog", which was certified gold by the RIAA. His first major-label album It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, which included the single Ruff Ryders Anthem, was released in May 1998 and debuted on the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S. It earned Simmons numerous comparisons to Tupac Shakur and sold over four million copies. Soon after the release of the album, DMX was nearly imprisoned for allegedly raping a stripper in the Bronx but was cleared by DNA evidence.
Later that year in December, DMX released his second album. It entered the charts at number one (and stayed there for 3 consecutive weeks) with 670,000 units shipped in the first week alone. The album eventually went 4x platinum. DMX was the second rapper to have two albums released in the same year debut at number one on Billboard's Top 200, the first being Tupac Shakur.
Simmons released his third album, ...And Then There Was X, on December 21, 1999. It debuted at number one on the pop charts, his third straight album to do so. "Party Up" was his biggest single, and became his first Top Ten hit on the R&B charts. His lead single off the album, "What's My Name?" (containing the piano prelude from Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto), and third single "What These Bitches Want" (featuring Sisqo) were also popular. .....And Then There Was X is Simmons' best-selling album to date, going six times platinum. Def Jam urged him to release the tracks within a month.
After improving his legal situation, Simmons returned to the studio and completed his fourth album, The Great Depression. Released October 3, 2001, it was his fourth straight album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200. With hits such as "Who We Be", "We Right Here", and the street track, "Shorty Was The Bomb". The Great Depression quickly went 2x platinum, but was not as commercially or critically successful as his previous album.
In 2003, Grand Champ became his fifth straight album to debut at number one. This made DMX the only artist in history to have 5 albums (and his entire album catalog) debut at #1. After its release, he informed the public that he planned to retire, and that Grand Champ would be his final album. In June 2003, DMX was arrested for using indecent language during a performance at Saint Kitts and Nevis. The country's Information Minister alleged that a contract signed before the concert stipulated the show would be without indecent language on stage. Simmons was released on bail ($376).
On January 13, 2006, DMX signed to Columbia Records, the label that released his early single "Born Loser". DMX recorded his next album while switching record labels, causing numerous delays. The album was finally released on August 1, 2006 under the title Year of the Dog...Again. It missed the number one spot in the charts by only a one-hundred sales. He also appeared on a remix of Busta Rhymes' "Touch It". Two more singles, "Lord Give Me A Sign" and "We In Here", followed. The Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter was DMX's greatest hits album, released on June 12, 2007.
DMX recently signed to Bodog Music to release his two next albums (on the same day), Walk with Me Now and You'll Fly with Me Later. X also has a Gospel album in post-production and is planning to release this back-to-back with his new rap albums in 2010.
He has starred in Never Die Alone, which was based on street novelist Donald Goines' book. He is also set to star in three upcoming films. He was set to star in Marble City, but was replaced by Ving Rhames. He starred in Carnivorous in 2009, starred in an action thriller called Last Hour which was released at the end of 2008. Another movie he starred in was Romeo Must Die co-starring next to Jet Li & Aaliyah. He also had a reality show on BET called DMX: Soul of a Man. He will also star in the 2009 Beast, the sequel to Belly. He has finished shooting an upcoming film with Kris Kristofferson titled Lords of the Street, the release date has yet to be set. He can be seen starring alongside Clifton Powell & Vivica A. Fox in a film titled Father of Lies. In 2003 he starred in a movie called Cradle 2 the Grave, as a criminal father trying to save his daughter. In 2001 he starred in Exit Wounds as a thug Latrell Walker who uncovered a team of crooked cops along with Steven Seagal who was transferred to the roughest division in Detroit, division 15. For that movie DMX also covered the song Ain't No Sunshine under the title "No Sunshine". The song was released as a single and peaked at #67 on the US R&B Charts. A music video was produced featuring DMX performing the song against clips from the film.
According to MTV news, DMX was scheduled for an MMA fight against a manager of his in December 2009. Allegedly due to a deal to rig the match in DMX's favor falling through, the rapper withdrew from the fight and was to be replaced by Coolio. Neither DMX nor Coolio ever fought, and a suit for 1 million dollars was filed against DMX for the incident.
In 1999, DMX joined rappers Jay-Z, Method Man and Redman for Jay-Z's Hard Knock Life tour. DMX was arrested but later cleared of a stabbing that occurred at a tour stop in Denver, Colorado; he was also cleared of an assault charge back at his hometown of Yonkers. However, in the summer of 1999, DMX and his wife were arrested and charged for animal cruelty and possession of drugs and weapons after his manager uncle was accidentally shot at a hotel in New Jersey. Eventually, he successfully plea-bargained simply for fines, probation, and community service. DMX was arrested in March 2000 for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, speeding, failure to signal, driving without a license, failure to notify the DMV of an address change, and possession of marijuana New York State Route 33 in Cheektowaga, New York, following a concert in Buffalo, New York. He was then scheduled to appear in Cheektowaga Town Court on March 21, but failed to appear, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest. He later turned himself in, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving without a license and was sentenced to 15 days in jail and fined $400. Since beginning public life as a rapper, DMX has made headlines for multiple arrests, such as for animal cruelty, reckless driving, unlicensed driving, drug possession, and identity falsification. In 1999 officers from the Fort Lee Police Department executed a search of his home, which led to Earl Simmons aka DMX surrendering himself the next day on weapons charges. He has served some jail time, such as a 15-day sentence in 2000 for possession of marijuana and another in 2001 for driving without a license and possession of marijuana. His appeal to reduce the 2001 sentence was denied, and he was charged with assault for allegedly throwing objects at prison guards. DMX entered rehab to treat his addiction to drugs in 2002.
In June 2004, he was arrested at the John F. Kennedy International Airport on charges of cocaine possession, criminal impersonation, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, menacing, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while claiming to be a federal agent and attempting to carjack a vehicle. He was given a conditional discharge on December 8, 2004 but plead guilty on October 25, 2005 to violating parole.
On November 18, 2005, DMX was sentenced to 70 days in jail for violating his parole; the lateness charge caused a 10-day extension from the original 60-day plan. For good behavior, DMX was released from jail early on December 30, 2005.
As of December 31, 2008, DMX had pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession, theft and animal cruelty and was sentenced to 90 days.  On May 22, 2009, DMX entered a plea agreement/change of plea. He pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated assault. On July 2, 2008 DMX was arrested in Phoenix at Sky Harbor airport after arriving from Miami for outstanding warrants and failing to appear in court. His bond is $1075 for driving without a license and $10000 for previous drug charges on May 9.Two weeks later, DMX was arrested at a Phoenix mall on suspicion that he gave a false name & Social Security number to a hospital to get out of paying for medical expenses.DMX is suspected of having used a false name, "Tony Jones" and failed to pay a $ 7,500 bill to Scottsdale's Mayo Clinic in April. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said DMX's bond had not been set, and if he remains in 4th avenue jail, he would be isolated from the rest of the inmates for his own safety. His judgments took place on June 8.
In 2009, DMX claimed he would pursue preaching but will also continue to do music. He completed a Gospel album prior to his incarceration. His beliefs were criticized since many of his albums use vulgarity, sexual violence and racial slurs. According to many sources such as MTV, he semi-retired to study the Bible more, in an effort to give messages behind the pulpit, but has since decided to return to rap after being encouraged by Mase to wait for God's calling to do so.
With the Ruff Ryders