Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970) better known by his stage name DMX (also known as Dog Man X and Dark Man X) is a multi-Platinum American rapper and actor. His stage name was originally an acronym of "Divine Master of the Unknown", but also pays tribute to an instrument he used in the 1980s, the Oberheim DMX drum machine 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. DMX dropped a new mixtape "The Weigh In" as a prelude/promotion towards his upcoming album on May 15th 2012. DMX has sold over 20 million records in the US alone, making him one of the best-selling hip-hop artists of all time.
DMX began to beatbox with Ready Ron in 1984. Gabriel Grevenstuk from The Source magazine praised him in his 1991 "Unsigned Hype" column, which highlighted unsigned hip-hop artists. 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 air play. 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 on LL Cool J's single "4, 3, 2, 1" in 1997. Additional guest spots on Mase singles "24 Hours to Live" and "Take What's Yours", and The LOX's single "Money, Power & Respect" created a strong buzz. DMX also made a cameo appearance in the Sum 41 music video for "Makes No Difference". At WrestleMania XXVII, during a promo package for professional wrestler John Cena, DMX gave a special sermon, which reflects his ministry beliefs and the church-like entrance of Cena.
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. 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.
1999-2000: ...And Then There Was X:
DMX released his third and best-selling album (as of January 2012), ...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 Platinum six times.
2001-02: 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 the top of 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: 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.
2005-08: 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 what would be 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 lost the number one Billboard spot by only one-hundred sales. He released two more singles, "Lord Give Me A Sign" and "We In Here" On June 12, 2008, DMX 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".
On October 11, 2011 DMX performed at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards. He stated that he has been working "nonstop, every day" on the new album, and plans to release it before December of 2012. 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. This was later confirmed by DMX (via his official Twitter account, DMX (rapper) on Twitter), where he also confirmed that its first single is scheduled for release in January 2012. A video for a new track entitled "Last Hope" was released via Internet on September 24, 2011. This was later release on his 'Weight In EP'. Undisputed will now be released August 28, 2012. Seven Arts Entertainment Inc. recently purchased David Michery's music assets, which included some of DMX's music. DMX's had announced that Undisputed will be released on March 27, 2012. However it was later revealed that DMX did not plan to release the album on that date, and that date was one forced upon him by the record label. The release date for the album was set for June 26, 2012. However, DMX announced in Detroit, MI. on June 9, 2012, that due to the record label that is supposed to release the album, the date will be pushed back again. It was then scheduled for release August 28, 2012. Later, an official press release from the label pushed back the date to September 11, 2012. Meanwhile, DMX is scheduled to perform at the 2012 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos at Cave In Rock, IL taking place on August 8th-August 12th. He will also be making appearances at the 2012 Rock The Bells Festival Series at San Bernardino August 18th-19th, and Holmdel, New Jersey September 1st-2nd.
DMX is the father of 10 children. He was married to Tashera Simmons in 1999 and they were married for eleven years. In July 2010, Tashera announced their separation (just two weeks following DMX's release from prison). DMX had multiple extramarital affairs during his marriage to Tashera, 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 was born 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
In 2009, DMX claimed he would pursue preaching in Jersey City, NJ but will also continue to produce music. He completed a Gospel album prior to his incarceration. According to MTV, he has semi-retired to study the Bible more in an effort to give messages behind the pulpit.
Since becoming a public figure, DMX's multiple arrests have been for offenses including: Animal cruelty, reckless driving, unlicensed driving, drug possession, and identity falsification. 1998-99 DMX was tried for rape and sodomy, sexual abuse, and unlawful imprisonment. The case was dismissed when the DNA evidence did not match his own DNA.,
DMX joined rappers Jay-Z, Method Man, and Redman for Jay-Z's 1999 Hard Knock Life tour, during which he was arrested for charges of a stabbing at a tour stop in Boston, Massachusetts; he was cleared of the charge (and another assault charge during the same year in his hometown of Yonkers).,
DMX and his wife were arrested in 1999 after his uncle (and then manager) was accidentally shot at a hotel in New Jersey, charged with animal cruelty and possession of crack cocaine and weapons. DMX successfully plea-bargained, which reduced his sentence to paying fines, probation, and community service.,
When officers of the Fort Lee Police Department executed a search of his home in 1999, DMX promptly surrendered himself on weapons possession charges.,
2000-05 DMX served a 15-day jail sentence in 2000 for possession of marijuana.,
Following a concert in Buffalo, New York in March of 2000, DMX was arrested from a vehicle on New York State Rout 33 in Chektowaga, New York. He was charged with 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. He failed to appear at the subsequent hearing scheduled for March 21 in Cheektowaga, which lead to a warrant for his arrest. He later turned himself in, pled guilty to a reduced charge of driving without a license, and was sentenced to 15 days in jail and fined $400.,
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 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. DMX was released on $376 bail.,
DMX was arrested in June 2004, 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 barking and claiming to be a federal agent and attempting to carjack a vehicle. He was given a conditional discharge on December 8, 2004, but pled guilty on October 25, 2005, to violating parole.,
DMX was sentenced to 70 days in jail on November 18, 2005, 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.,
2008-11 DMX plead guilty to charges of drug possession, theft, and animal cruelty, at a hearing on December 30, 2008; he was sentenced to ninety days in jail on January 31, 2009.,
On May 22, 2009, DMX entered a plea agreement/change of plea, and pled 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.,
DMX was arrested in Maricopa County, Arizona on November 19, 2010, on charges of violating his probation by consuming alcohol (at a performance). He served the full twelve-month jail sentence. On December 20, 2010, DMX was moved to the Mental Health Unit of the Arizona State Prison, and released on July 18, 2011.,
DMX was arrested on August 24, 2011, 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. DMX sued the Arizona police.,
Feud with Ja Rule:
DMX, Ja Rule, and Jay-Z were friends. 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 releasing records on which Ja Rule copied DMX's signature "gruff style". Four years after, the two rappers waged a war of words. DMX admitted that he initially wanted the feud when he was released from jail in 2005, before making peace: "Gotti came to me in jail and said I want to make peace with you and him", said DMX, "I was like, 'Alright Gotti, lets do it." DMX and Ja Rule finally ended their feud at VH1's 2009 Hip Hop Honors.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license