DMX (rapper)

Earl Simmons, 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 ". Since his debut, DMX has released seven studio albums.
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 , 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.

Early life

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".

Musical career

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, 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 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, . 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.

2011–2012: ''Undisputed''

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, 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:
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".
On September 20, 2019, it was officially announced that DMX had signed a new record deal with Def Jam, reuniting with the label for the first time since his 2003 album Grand Champ.

Personal life

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 ended their feud until 2009 at VH1's Hip Hop Honors.

Legal issues

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.


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. 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
Grammy Award
YearNominated workAwardResult
2001... And Then There Was XBest Rap Album
2001"Party Up "Best Rap Solo Performance
2002"Who We Be"Best Rap Solo Performance

American Music Award
YearNominated workAwardResult
2000DMXFavorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist
2001DMXFavorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist

MTV Video Music Award
YearNominated workAwardResult
1999"Ruff Ryders Anthem"Best Rap Video
2000"Party Up "Best Rap Video
2001"No Sunshine"Best Video from a Film
2002"Who We Be"Best Rap Video
2002"Who We Be"Best Breakthrough Video


1998BellyTommy "Buns" Bundy
2000Romeo Must DieSilk
2000BackstageAs Himself
2001Exit WoundsLatrell Walker
2001Angel: One More Road to CrossAs Himself
2003Cradle 2 the GraveAnthony Fait
2004Never Die AloneKing David
2006Father of LiesPaulDirect-to-DVD
2007Death TollThe DogDirect-to-DVD
2008Last HourBlack JackDirect-to-DVD
2008Lords of the StreetThornOriginally titled Jump Out Boys
2009Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev SerpentNickDirect-to-DVD
2009The BleedingTaggDirect-to-DVD
2013King DogTerrell JohnsonDirect-to-DVD
2013Blame It on the HustleDirect-to-DVD
2014Top FiveHimselfCameo
2018PimpMidnight John
2019Beyond the LawDetective Ray Munce

;Video Games
2003Def Jam VendettaHimselfVoice role and likeness

1998The Chris Rock ShowHimself
1998South ParkHimself"Chef Aid"
2000MoeshaHimself"Gimme a Break'
2000–02MadTVHimself2 Episodes
2002Half & HalfHimself"The Big Sistah Sans Soul"
2003Third WatchKandid Jones"In Lieu of Johnson"
2003EveXenon"She Snoops to Conquer"
2004Chappelle's ShowHimself/Music Guest
2004Jimmy Kimmel Live!HimselfSeason 3, Episode 57
2004The Sharon Osbourne ShowHimself
2005TrippinHimself2 Episodes
2011LifechangersHimself2 Episodes
2012Couples TherapyHimselfDocumentary
2013Iyanla, Fix My LifeHimself"Fix My Rap Star Life"
2015Fresh Off The BoatHimself
2017Black Ink Crew''Himself