DMX (rapper)

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Academy Awards afterparty CUN DMX.jpg
DMX in February 2007
Background information
Birth nameEarl Simmons
Born(1970-12-18) December 18, 1970 (age 43)
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
OriginYonkers, New York, U.S.
GenresHip hop
OccupationsRapper, actor
Years active1988–present
LabelsSeven Arts Music (current)
Bloodline, Ruff Ryders Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records, Def Jam (former)
Associated actsRuff Ryders, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Swizz Beatz, Eve, Drag-On, The Lox, Ja Rule, Eminem
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This article is about the American rapper and actor. For other uses, see DMX.
Academy Awards afterparty CUN DMX.jpg
DMX in February 2007
Background information
Birth nameEarl Simmons
Born(1970-12-18) December 18, 1970 (age 43)
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
OriginYonkers, New York, U.S.
GenresHip hop
OccupationsRapper, actor
Years active1988–present
LabelsSeven Arts Music (current)
Bloodline, Ruff Ryders Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records, Def Jam (former)
Associated actsRuff Ryders, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Swizz Beatz, Eve, Drag-On, The Lox, Ja Rule, Eminem

Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), better known by his stage names DMX and Dark Man X, is an American rapper and actor. In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album ...And Then There Was X, which featured the hit single "Party Up (Up in Here)". He has acted 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.[1] DMX has sold over 30 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling hip-hop artists of all time.

Early life

DMX was born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon and was raised in Yonkers, New York.[2][3] Simmons went through an abusive childhood that included stays at group homes and frequent arrests.[3]

Music career

DMX began his music career in 1988 as a beatboxer. In 1991, Gabriel Grevenstuk from The Source magazine praised DMX in his "Unsigned Hype" column that highlighted unsigned hip-hop artists. His stage name was tribute to an instrument he used in the 1980s, the Oberheim DMX drum machine and later was interpreted as "Dark Man X".[3]

A year later, Columbia Records signed DMX to their subsidiary label Ruffhouse, who released his debut single "Born Loser". The single did not get much airplay.[citation needed] 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".[4]

1996–98: 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.[citation needed] It was eventually certified Platinum four times. As a result, DMX was the second rapper in history (following Tupac Shakur) to have released two albums in the same year, which both debuted at number one 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.[citation needed] The album was certified Platinum six times.[3]

2001–02: The Great Depression

After improving his legal situation,[citation needed] 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: 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.[5]

2005–08: 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.[6] It was finally released on August 1, 2006, and lost the number one Billboard spot by only one-hundred sales.[citation needed] 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.[7][8] 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.[9]

2011–present: 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.[10] A video for a new track entitled "Last Hope" was released via 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),[11] 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[12][13] 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.

In 2013, DMX announced he had begun working on his eighth studio album. He has been seen collaborating with producers Swizz Beatz[14] 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.[15][16]

Personal life

DMX is the father of twelve children. He was married to Tashera Simmons in 1999 and they were married for eleven years.[17] In July 2010, Tashera announced their separation (two weeks following DMX's release from prison).[18] DMX maintains that the two remain friends.[19]

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 of these children; the first was born to Maryland resident Monique Wayne in 2004, the second to a different woman in late 2008.[20][21] 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,[22] and for child support. After DNA testing proved DMX fathered Wayne's son in 2007, he was ordered to pay her $1.5 million.[23][24][25][26]

On July 30, 2013, DMX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing his child support obligations as his priority claim.[27] The filing was challenged by the Department of Justice's bankruptcy watchdog trustee program,[28] and was later dismissed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on November 11, 2013.[29]

Legal issues

Since becoming a public figure, DMX's multiple arrests have been for offenses including: animal cruelty,[30] reckless driving,[31] unlicensed driving, drug possession,[32] and identity falsification.[33]





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, lets do it."[60] DMX and Ja Rule finally ended their feud at VH1's 2009 Hip Hop Honors.[61]


Main article: DMX discography

Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

YearNominated workAwardResult
2001...And Then There Was XBest Rap AlbumNominated
2001"Party Up (Up In Here)"Best Rap Solo PerformanceNominated
2002"Who We Be"Best Rap Solo PerformanceNominated

American Music Awards

YearNominated workAwardResult
2000DMXFavorite Rap/Hip-Hop ArtistWon
2001DMXFavorite Rap/Hip-Hop ArtistNominated

MTV Video Music Awards

YearNominated workAwardResult
1999"Ruff Ryders Anthem"Best Rap VideoNominated
2000"Party Up(Up In Here)"Best Rap VideoNominated
2001"No Sunshine"Best Video from a FilmNominated
2002"Who We Be"Best Rap VideoNominated
2002"Who We Be"Best Breakthrough VideoNominated



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  2. ^ Simmons, Earl & Fontaine, Smokey D. (2003), The E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX, HarperCollins, p. 7, ISBN 9780060934033. 
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External links