DMX (rapper)

This article is about the American rapper and actor. For other uses, see DMX.

DMX in February 2007
Background information
Birth name Earl Simmons
Also known as Dark Man X
Born (1970-12-18) December 18, 1970
Mount Vernon, New York, US
Origin Yonkers, New York, US[1]
Genres Hip hop
  • Rapper
  • actor
  • record producer
Years active 1991–present
Labels Ruff Ryders, Columbia, Bloodline Records
Associated acts Ruff Ryders, JAY Z, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz, Drag-On, The Lox, Ja Rule, Eve, Savant

Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), professionally known as DMX, is an American hip hop recording artist and actor. In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album ...And Then There Was X, which included the hit single "Party Up (Up in Here)". 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.[2]

Early life

DMX was born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, New York, the son of Arnett Simmons and Joe Barker, and was raised in Yonkers, New York.[3][1] As a child, he was brought up in the Jehovah's Witness faith.[4] Simmons went through an abusive childhood that included stays at group homes and frequent arrests.[3]

Musical career

1991–1995: Career beginning

In 1991, Gabriel Grevenstuk from The Source magazine praised DMX in his Unsigned Hype column that highlighted unsigned hip-hop artists. In 1991, DMX recorded his first demos, Unstoppable Force and Three Little Pigs. His stage name was a tribute to an instrument he used in the 1980s, the Oberheim DMX drum machine; it later was interpreted as "Dark Man X".[3]

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. 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.[3] DMX also made a cameo appearance in the Sum 41 music video for "Makes No Difference".[5]

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 Recordings. 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. As a result, DMX was the first rapper in history to have released two number one [3] albums in the same year, both of which debuted on Billboard 200.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[6]

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.[7] It was finally released on August 1, 2006, and missed the number one Billboard spot by only a few hundred copies.[8] 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.[3] Def Jam released another compilation album, The Best of DMX, in 2011.[9][10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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),[13] 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[14][15] 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: Eighth studio album

In 2013, DMX announced he had begun working on his eighth studio album. He has been seen collaborating with producers Swizz Beatz[16] and Dame Grease. In December, after regaining his passport, he embarked on a world tour with performances in Bulgaria and Kosovo, with additional performances expected in Europe and the Middle East.[17][18]

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 & recurring collaborator producer/rapper/entrepreneur Swizz Beatz confirmed that this was false, DMX's management would also confirm it was false as well.[19][20] 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.[24] His 2003 song X Gon' Give It to Ya was featured in the 2016 film Deadpool and in its trailers.

On June 28th DMX released a new song which was produced by Divine Bars which was titled "Blood Red".[25]

Personal life

DMX is a Christian[26] and has stated he reads the Bible every day.[27] 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."[28] 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.[29]

DMX is the father of fifteen children. He was married to Tashera Simmons in 1999 and they were married for eleven years.[30] In July 2010, after his first of three incarcerations that year, Tashera announced their separation.[31] DMX maintains that the two remain friends.[32] His fifteenth child, Exodus Simmons, was born to his girlfriend, Desiree Lindstrom, on August 16, 2016.[33]

DMX 2001

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.[34][35] 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,[36] and for child support. After DNA testing proved DMX fathered Wayne's son in 2007, he was ordered to pay her $1.5 million.[37][38][39][40]

On July 30, 2013, DMX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing his child support obligations as his priority claim.[41] The filing was challenged by the Department of Justice's bankruptcy watchdog trustee program,[42] and was later dismissed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on November 11, 2013.[43]

Legal troubles

Since becoming a public figure, DMX's multiple arrests have been for offenses including: resisting arrest, animal cruelty,[44] reckless driving,[45] unlicensed driving, drug possession,[46] and identity falsification.[47]






Feud with Ja Rule

DMX and Jay Z guest-starred on the single "It's Murda" from Ja Rule's first album. Ja Rule had previously feuded with Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Eminem and 50 Cent; all of which had been resolved or faded from significance. DMX accused Ja Rule of copying DMX's signature "gruff style". DMX said that he wanted the feud to end when he was released from jail 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."[75] DMX and Ja Rule finally ended their feud at VH1's 2009 Hip Hop Honors.[76]


Main article: DMX discography

Awards and nominations

Grammy Award

Year Nominated work Award Result
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

American Music Award

Year Nominated work Award Result
2000 DMX Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Won
2001 DMX Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Won

MTV Video Music Award

Year Nominated work Award Result
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


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Belly Tommy "Buns" Bundy
2000 Romeo Must Die Silk
Backstage As Himself
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
The Bleeding Tagg Direct-to-DVD
2013 King Dog[77] Terrell (TJ) Johnson Direct-to-DVD
Blame It on the Hustle[78] Direct-to-DVD
2014 Top Five Himself Cameo
Video Games
Year Title Role Notes
2003 Def Jam Vendetta Himself Voice role and likeness
Year Title Role Notes
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)
2000–02 MadTV Himself 2 Episodes
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
2005 Trippin' Himself 2 Episodes
2006 DMX: Soul of a Man Himself Documentary
2008 Big Pun: The Legacy Himself Documentary
2011 Lifechangers Himself 2 Episodes
2012 Couples Therapy Himself Documentary
2013 Iyanla, Fix My Life Himself "Fix My Rap Star Life" (episode 1, season 2)
2014 Sleepy Hollow TBA (episode 3.18, season 3)
2015 Fresh Off The Boat Himself (episode 9, season 2)


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  2. Fleischer, Adam; Gissen, Jesse; Lelinwalla, Mark; Rodriguez, Jayson (December 12, 2011). "What's the Word: Top 10 Rap Books". XXL. December 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
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  28. "Rapper DMX says life calling is to be a pastor". Christian Today. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 24 September 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."
  29. Law, Jeannie (8 January 2014). "DMX Talks About Becoming a Pastor and How He Feels about Eminem Being 'Rap God'". Breathecast. The Christian Post. Retrieved 24 September 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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