Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), better known by his stage name DMX, is an American rapper and songwriter. He began rapping in the early 1990s, and released his debut album It's Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998, to both critical acclaim and commercial success, selling 251,000 copies within its first week of release. He released his best-selling album, ... And Then There Was X, in 1999, which included the hit single "Party Up (Up in Here)". Since his debut, DMX has released seven studio albums.
DMX in February 2007
|Birth name||Earl Simmons|
|Also known as|
|Born||December 18, 1970|
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
|Origin||Yonkers, New York, U.S.|
He has been featured in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 the Grave and Last Hour. In 2006, he starred in the reality television series DMX: Soul of a Man, which was primarily aired on the BET cable television network. In 2003, DMX published a book of his memoirs entitled, E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX.
Earl Simmons was born in Mount Vernon, New York on December 18, 1970, the son of 19 year old Arnett Simmons and 18 year old Joe Barker, and was raised in Yonkers, New York. He has no middle name, and was simply named Earl at birth. Earl was the second child of Arnett, who had given birth to a daughter, Bonita, two years prior, as well as one daughter, Shayla, and two stillborn sons after Earl. Barker did not want Simmons to keep her son, and cut off almost all contact with the family as soon as Earl was born. As a child, Simmons suffered greatly from bronchial asthma, being taken to the emergency room almost nightly due to him waking up unable to breathe. He was brought up in the Jehovah's Witness faith. At some point in his childhood, Simmons was hit by a drunk driver while crossing the street and suffered minor injuries. He claims his family could have received as much as $10,000 in a legal settlement, but his mother refused to open a case as she claimed it went against her faith.
Simmons went through a disjointing childhood that included being beaten by his mother and her various boyfriends so badly that he lost teeth, and sustained numerous bruises and cuts on his face. When Simmons was 5 years old, his family settled in Yonkers, New York. At the end of the fifth grade, Simmons was kicked out of school and sent to the Julia Dyckman Andrus Children's Home for 18 months. When he was 14, Simmons began wandering the streets of Yonkers to escape his mother's abuse, and eventually found comfort in befriending stray dogs that walked the streets at night. Shortly after he began doing this, his mother once again sent him to a boys' home. During his stay at the boys' home, Simmons bonded with other students from New York over their shared love of hip-hop music, and after performing for his friends, they encouraged Simmons to continue writing music to the behest of his teacher. When he returned home, Simmons met Ready Ron, a local rapper, who, impressed with Simmons' beatboxing skills, asked him to become his partner. Simmons chose the name "DMX", which came from an instrument he had used at the boys' home, the Oberheim DMX drum machine; it later was also interpreted as "Dark Man X".
1991–1995: Career beginning
DMX got his start in the music industry in 1984, when he would beatbox for a local rapper named Ready Ron. After serving time in prison, he began writing his own lyrics and would perform at the local rec center for younger children. After going to prison again in 1988, he began taking rapping more seriously, dedicating almost all of his free time to writing lyrics and also meeting and rapping with K-Solo while incarcerated. When he was released that summer, he began producing and selling his own mixtapes where he would rap over instrumentals from other songs and sell them on street corners, which helped him build a local fan base all over New York. In 1991, Gabriel Grevenstuk from The Source magazine praised DMX in his Unsigned Hype column that highlighted unsigned hip-hop artists. The same year, he recorded his first demos, Unstoppable Force and Three Little Pigs.
In 1992, Columbia Records signed DMX to their subsidiary label Ruffhouse, which released his debut single "Born Loser". The single did not receive much airplay, and the label eventually agreed to release DMX from their contract.
He released his second single, "Make a Move" in 1994, and made a guest appearance alongside Jay Z, Ja Rule, and Mic Geronimo on the classic underground track "Time To Build" on Mic Geronimo's debut album in 1995. He also appeared on LL Cool J's single "4, 3, 2, 1" in 1997. Additional guest spots on Mase singles "24 Hrs. to Live" and "Take What's Yours", and The LOX's single "Money, Power & Respect" created a strong buzz for the then-unsigned rapper. DMX also made a cameo appearance in the Sum 41 music video for "Makes No Difference".
1996–1998: It's Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
In February 1998, DMX released his debut major-label single, "Get at Me Dog", on Def Jam. The single 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. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S and sold over five million copies.
Later that year in December, DMX released his second album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, where it remained for three consecutive weeks. Within one week of the album's release, 670,000 units were shipped. It was eventually certified Platinum four times.
1999–2000: ... And Then There Was X
DMX released his third and best-selling album ... And Then There Was X, on December 21, 1999. It was his third album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Its most popular single, "Party Up", became his first Top Ten hit on the R&B charts. Singles "What's My Name?" and "What These Bitches Want" were also popular. The album was certified six-times Platinum.
2001–2002: The Great Depression
After improving his legal situation (see section "Legal Issues"), DMX returned to the studio to complete his fourth album, The Great Depression. Released October 23, 2001, it was his fourth album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, featuring the singles "Who We Be", "We Right Here", and "Shorty Was The Bomb". Despite the album's triple Platinum certification, its commercial and critical success was lower than his previous album.
2003–2004: Grand Champ
His fifth album, Grand Champ, once again debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts, placing DMX as the only musical artist in history to release five consecutive albums (his entire album catalog at the time) that debuted at number one. Singles include "Where Tha Hood At" and "Get it on the Floor". After its release, he informed the public that he planned to retire, and that Grand Champ would be his final album.
2005–2008: Year of the Dog...Again and The Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter
DMX signed to Columbia Records in January 2006. He recorded his next album, Year of the Dog...Again, while switching record labels, which caused numerous delays. It was finally released on August 1, 2006, and missed the number one Billboard spot by only a few hundred copies. He released two more singles, "Lord Give Me A Sign" and "We In Here"
On June 12, 2008, Def Jam released a compilation of his greatest hits, The Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter. Def Jam released another compilation album, The Best of DMX, in 2011. which features hit singles including "Where the Hood At?" and "X Gon' Give It to Ya".
In 2009, DMX claimed he would pursue preaching in Jersey City, New Jersey but will also continue to produce music. He completed a Gospel album prior to his incarceration. According to MTV, he had semi-retired to study the Bible more in an effort to give messages behind the pulpit.
On October 11, 2011, DMX performed at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards. He stated that he has been working "nonstop, every day" on his seventh album, which was later titled Undisputed. A video for a new track entitled "Last Hope" was released via the Internet on September 24, 2011, and was later included on The Weigh In EP released digitally on May 5, 2012.
In late February 2012, Seven Arts Entertainment Inc. acquired United Music Media Group's music assets (which included a catalog of DMX's music), and signed DMX to a two-album deal. During a performance at New York's Santos Party House on December 25, 2011, DMX stated that the new album will be entitled Undisputed and would be released on March 26, 2012. After numerous delays, the album was eventually released on September 11, 2012, and featured production from Swizz Beatz and J.R. Rotem with a guest appearance by MGK.
2013–present: Redemption of the Beast, other works and Def Jam Reunion
In 2013, DMX announced he had begun working on his eighth studio album. He has been seen collaborating with producers Swizz Beatz and Dame Grease. In December, after regaining his passport, he embarked on a world tour with performances in Bulgaria and Kosovo.
On January 7, 2015 it was announced by DMX's label Seven Arts Music that DMX would be releasing a new album next week entitled Redemption of the Beast, but later during the day close personal friend and recurring collaborator producer/rapper/entrepreneur Swizz Beatz confirmed that this was false, DMX's management would also confirm it was false as well. On January 13, 2015, Seven Arts Music released Redemption of the Beast, without acquiring a legal artist contract. On January 15, 2015 it was announced by DMX's brother/manager Montana that DMX was no longer signed to Seven Arts Music and that they would be taking legal action against Seven Arts Music for the unauthorized release of Redemption of the Beast stating:
Seven Arts Entertainment had no right to put out a new album. The only contract DMX had was for Undisputed & that came out two years ago. He don't have a contract with them to release another album. You can't just put somebody's album out without permission. X only had a contract with them for one album & that album already came out a long time ago. If they wanted to come out with another album, they had to come to the table. That's why we sent a cease & desist letter. Some of the songs are from the Undisputed album & there's three extra songs that he recorded that were not on the Undisputed album that they just put on that album. That's what they did. We don't even know where he got that picture on the cover from.
For his upcoming album, long-time collaborator Swizz Beatz stated that two of the collaborators on the album will be Kanye West and Dr. Dre. His 2003 song "X Gon' Give It to Ya" was featured in the 2016 film Deadpool and in its trailers.
On June 28, 2016 DMX released a new song which was produced by Divine Bars which was titled "Blood Red".
On January 11, 2017 DMX released a new song produced by Swizz Beats entitled "Bain Iz Back".
DMX has spoken openly about his addiction to crack cocaine, which began when he was 14 years old after he smoked a marijuana cigarette laced with the drug. He also claims to have bipolar disorder.
DMX is a Christian and has stated he reads the Bible every day. While in prison, DMX stated that he had a purpose for being there: "I came here to meet somebody...Don't know who it was, but I'll know when I see him. And I came here to give him a message. And that message is Jesus loves them." DMX is currently a transitional deacon in the Christian Church and aspires to become ordained as a pastor, stating that he received this call in 2012.
DMX is the father of fifteen children. He was married to Tashera Simmons in 1999 and they were married for eleven years. In July 2010, after his first of three incarcerations that year, Tashera announced their separation. DMX maintains that the two remain friends. His fifteenth child, Exodus Simmons, was born to his girlfriend, Desiree Lindstrom, on August 16, 2016.
DMX had multiple extramarital affairs during his marriage to Simmons, some of which produced children. DNA testing confirmed that he is the father of at least two children; the first was born to Maryland resident Monique Wayne in 2004, the second to a different woman in late 2008. DMX and Wayne fought over her claim that he was the father of her son for years, during which she has sued him repeatedly for defamation of character, and for child support. After DNA testing proved DMX fathered Wayne's son in 2007, he was ordered to pay her $1.5 million.
On July 30, 2013, DMX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing his child support obligations as his priority claim. The filing was challenged by the Department of Justice's bankruptcy watchdog trustee program, and was later dismissed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on November 11, 2013.
On February 10, 2016, DMX was found unresponsive in a Ramada Inn parking lot in Yonkers. He was resuscitated by first responders and given Narcan before being rushed to the hospital. A witness states he ingested some type of substance before collapsing, but police found no illegal substances on the property. DMX stated that it was from an asthma attack.
Feud with Ja Rule
During the 1990s, DMX had formed a close bond with fellow up-and-coming rappers Jay Z and Ja Rule, with the three collaborating with each other many times and forming a group known as Murder Inc. The group was short-lived due to internal issues between DMX and Jay Z. After the breakup of Murder Inc., DMX went on to disparage Ja Rule in interviews, accusing him of being a copycat, drawing comparisons between himself and what he saw as Ja stealing his signature "gruff" style of delivery. DMX would later release a diss track, They Want War on a 2002 DJ Kay Slay mixtape; Ja Rule would never directly respond. As time passed and the feud faded into obscurity, DMX said that he wanted to officially bring it to an end when he was released from prison in 2005: "Gotti came to me in jail and said I want to make peace with you and him. I was like, 'Alright Gotti, let's do it." Despite this, DMX and Ja Rule would not officially end their feud until 2009, at VH1's Hip Hop Honors.
DMX was first sent to prison in 1986 after stealing a dog from a junkyard. He was sentenced to two years in the juvenile unit of Woodfield Prison in Valhalla, New York. However, just weeks after starting his sentence, he and his cellmate successfully escaped the prison and DMX returned home to New York until his mother forced him to turn himself in and finish his sentence, which he did at the McCormick Juvenile Detention Centre in Brooktondale, New York. Simmons was sent to prison again in 1988 for carjacking, and was later moved to a higher security prison after attempting to extort a fellow inmate for drugs. He was released in the summer of 1988.
Since becoming a public figure, DMX's multiple arrests have been for offenses including: resisting arrest, animal cruelty, reckless driving, unlicensed driving, drug possession, and identity falsification.
- When officers of the Fort Lee Police Department executed a search of his home in 1999, DMX promptly surrendered himself on weapons possession charges.
- DMX faced a 1999 animal cruelty charge in Teaneck, New Jersey after a dozen pit bulls were found at his home there; the charge was dismissed after the performer agreed to accept responsibility and record public service announcements for an animal rights group.
- In 2000, DMX served a 15-day jail sentence for possession of marijuana.
- DMX served another jail sentence in 2001 for driving without a license and possession of marijuana. His appeal to reduce the sentence was denied; rather, he was charged with assault for throwing objects at prison guards. DMX entered rehab to treat his addiction to drugs in 2002.
- In January 2002, DMX pleaded guilty in New Jersey to 13 counts of animal cruelty, two counts of maintaining a nuisance and one count each of disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia. He eventually plea-bargained down to fines, probation and community service, and starred in public service announcements against the dangers of guns and animal abuse.
- In June 2004, DMX 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 pleaded guilty on October 25, 2005, to violating parole.
- On November 18, 2005, DMX was sentenced to 70 days in jail for violating parole; the lateness charge added a 10-day extension to the original 60-day sentence. DMX was released early (for "good behavior") on December 30, 2005.
- On May 9, 2008 DMX was arrested on drug and animal cruelty charges after attempting to barricade himself inside his Arizona home.
- DMX pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession, theft, and animal cruelty, at a hearing on December 30, 2008; he was sentenced to 90 days in jail on January 31, 2009.
- On May 22, 2009, DMX entered a plea agreement/change of plea, and pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated assault.
- After serving four out of six months for violating drug probation, DMX was released from jail on July 6, 2010. That day, a television pilot was filmed to portray his road to recovery; however, DMX was arrested three weeks later and the pilot did not evolve into a series.
- On July 27, 2010, DMX turned himself in to Los Angeles Metropolitan Court for a reckless driving charge he received in 2002. He was sentenced to serve ninety days in jail.
- On November 19, 2010, DMX was arrested in Maricopa County, Arizona on charges of violating his probation by consuming alcohol (at a performance). On December 20, 2010, DMX was moved to the Mental Health Unit of the Arizona State Prison, and released on July 18, 2011.
- On August 24, 2011, DMX was arrested for speeding (recorded as 102 mph in a 65 mph zone), reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license. While DMX admitted to speeding, he claims he was driving 85 mph, not 102 mph as charged.
- On February 13, 2013, DMX was arrested in Spartanburg, South Carolina for driving without a driver's license.
- On July 26, 2013, DMX was arrested again in Greenville County, South Carolina and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as driving without a license.
- On August 20, 2013, DMX was arrested again in Greer, South Carolina during a traffic stop after a car he was a passenger in made an improper u-turn. He was arrested due to an outstanding warrant for driving under suspension. Four packages of marijuana were also found in the vehicle, and he along with the driver were cited for them.
- On November 4, 2013, DMX was again arrested by the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport police near Greer, South Carolina after police, who were familiar with his prior arrests, noticed DMX behind the wheel of a vehicle at the terminal. DMX was booked on charges of driving under suspension, having an uninsured vehicle, and not having a licensed vehicle. He was subsequently released after spending three hours in jail.
- On June 26, 2015, DMX was arrested in New York, charged for robbery in Newark, New Jersey, and outstanding child support.
- On July 14, 2015, DMX was sentenced to 6 months in jail for failing to pay $400,000 in child support.
- On December 14, 2015, an arrest warrant was issued for DMX after he missed a court hearing to address child support issues with his ex-wife Tashera Simmons and their 4 children.[better source needed]
2017–19: Tax fraud conviction
In July 2017, DMX was charged with 14 federal counts of tax fraud. Federal prosecutors charged him with failing to file income tax returns from 2010 to 2015 (a period when he earned at least $2.3 million). DMX pleaded guilty to a single count of tax fraud in November 2017. DMX was originally free pending sentencing, but was remanded to jail in January 2018 after leaving a drug treatment program ordered by the court and relapsing with cocaine and Oxycodone. In March 2018, Judge Jed S. Rakoff sentenced DMX to one year in prison followed by three years of supervised release. The court also ordered DMX to pay $2.29 million in restitution to the government. He was released from prison on January 25, 2019.
- Studio albums
Awards and nominations
|2001||... And Then There Was X||Best Rap Album||Nominated|
|"Party Up (Up In Here)"||Best Rap Solo Performance||Nominated|
|2002||"Who We Be"||Best Rap Solo Performance||Nominated|
|2000||DMX||Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist||Won|
|2001||DMX||Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist||Won|
|1999||"Ruff Ryders Anthem"||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|2000||"Party Up (Up In Here)"||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|2001||"No Sunshine"||Best Video from a Film||Nominated|
|2002||"Who We Be"||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|Best Breakthrough Video||Nominated|
|1998||Belly||Tommy "Buns" Bundy|
|2000||Romeo Must Die||Silk|
|2001||Exit Wounds||Latrell Walker|
|2001||Angel: One More Road to Cross||As Himself|
|2003||Cradle 2 the Grave||Anthony Fait|
|2004||Never Die Alone||King David|
|2006||Father of Lies||Paul||Direct-to-DVD|
|2007||Death Toll||The Dog||Direct-to-DVD|
|2008||Last Hour||Black Jack||Direct-to-DVD|
|Lords of the Street||Thorn||Originally titled Jump Out Boys|
|2009||Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent||Nick||Direct-to-DVD|
|2013||King Dog||Terrell (TJ) Johnson||Direct-to-DVD|
|Blame It on the Hustle||—||Direct-to-DVD|
|2019||Beyond the Law||Detective Ray Munce|
|2020||Fast and Fierce: Death Race||Davie|
- Video Games
|2003||Def Jam Vendetta||Himself||Voice role and likeness|
|1998||The Chris Rock Show||Himself|
|South Park||Himself||"Chef Aid" (Season 2, Episode 14)|
|2000||Moesha||Himself||"Gimme a Break' (Season 5, Episode 18)|
|2002||Half & Half||Himself||"The Big Sistah Sans Soul" (Season 1, Episode 7)|
|2003||Third Watch||Kandid Jones||"In Lieu of Johnson" (episode 92, season 5)|
|Eve||Xenon||"She Snoops to Conquer" (episode 3, season 1)|
|2004||Chappelle's Show||Himself||(episode 16, season 2)/Music Guest|
|Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Himself||Season 3, Episode 57|
|The Sharon Osbourne Show||Himself|
|2006||DMX: Soul of a Man||Himself||Documentary|
|2008||Big Pun: The Legacy||Himself||Documentary|
|2013||Iyanla, Fix My Life||Himself||"Fix My Rap Star Life" (episode 1, season 2)|
|2015||Fresh Off The Boat||Himself||(episode 9, season 2)|
|2017||Black Ink Crew||Himself||(TBA, season 5)|
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- Weber, Katherine (October 14, 2013). "Rapper DMX Reads Bible Verses to Struggling Fan on Los Angeles Street". The Christian Post. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
DMX went on to say that although he has read the bible in its entirety, he admits he has more soul searching to do in order to become a better Christian.
- "Rapper DMX says life calling is to be a pastor". Christian Today. January 19, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
In a recent interview with a Fox News affiliate, DMX said he reads the Bible every day, plans to launch a television programme about how he can "reach people that the average person can't reach", and hopes to eventually preach from the pulpit – some time after he gets out of jail, that is.
- "Rapper DMX says life calling is to be a pastor". Christian Today. January 19, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
Though his situation may appear bleak, the popular rapper tried to look at it in a positive light. "I came here to meet somebody," said the rapper. "Don't know who it was, but I'll know when I see him. And I came here to give him a message. And that message is Jesus loves them."
- Law, Jeannie (January 8, 2014). "DMX Talks About Becoming a Pastor and How He Feels about Eminem Being 'Rap God'". Breathecast. The Christian Post. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
"I will be a pastor. I'm already a deacon. I will be a pastor." The rapper first mentioned his "call" of being a Pastor during an interview he did in prison in 2012.
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