Although DMX might occasionally make you laugh with a gruff wisecrack in his new film, "Never Die Alone," he's no John Ritter. The dog says even in his upcoming big-screen laugher, you'll never catch him losing his cool.
"[My] next movie [will be a] romantic comedy," X said Saturday in Los Angeles at a round-table discussion about "Never Die Alone," which opens Friday. "The thing about me doing a comedy, I'm not going to be telling jokes. I just want it to be situations where it happens to be funny. I'm not going be falling over sh-- and knocking over chairs. I can't be corny — at the risk of sounding like a big-head, I'm too cool for that. It's a thin line between comedy and corny."
X's light tone switched up considerably when he was asked if his career as an MC is over for real.
"Yes, I'm done with the music because I refuse to have something that I hold that dear to me be taken so lightly," he barked. "I'm being paid like a slave. All artists are. The record company advances you money. You pay for every aspect: promotion, distribution, recording, everything, everybody. Once your [album] comes out, they get their money back — the product should be mine! It's like getting a loan from a bank to buy a house, and once you pay them back, they still own your house.
"Contractually I do owe them, but I ain't giving them sh--," he added, referring to Def Jam, his record label. "You know what these mutha----as do? I recorded 25 songs each album. You know how many songs actually go on the album? Sixteen. They keep the rest of those songs. Now they got songs to put on the greatest-hits album and soundtracks. They've given away some of my best songs for soundtracks and people don't even hear soundtracks. I'm dead serious about my music. They playing with it like it's a toy."
The latest uproar between X and the house that Russell Simmons built came during negotiations for the street king to appear in the sequel to the video game "Def Jam Vendetta." X's feathers were ruffled even more when, he claims, the company refused to put out the soundtrack to "Never Die Alone." However, he says there is a silver lining: "The Lord told me a month and a half ago that the soundtrack was going to be all right."
X repeated that he eventually wants to get into the ministry (see "DMX Retiring From Hip-Hop, Plans To Read His Bible"). "I know the real reason I'm here on this earth is to speak the word. Bring more people to Jesus, that's my career. [Music and film] are just jobs. These are things I asked God for, and he's given them to me."
But for now, he's concentrating on acting and producing. "Never Die Alone" is the first movie from his company, Bloodline Films, and he has many more in the works. There's talk of a possible adaptation of the Donald Goines novel "Daddy Cool" with Samuel L. Jackson as the star, and a biopic of X's life, with the film's centerpiece also acting as narrator.
"My favorite roles are Tommy Brown in 'Belly' and this one," he said about King David, his character in "Never Die Alone." "I had more of a chance to bring the wolf out. The three joints I did for Warner Bros., I'm grateful for them, but they kinda beat the black-guy-fighting-karate theme into the ground. How many times you gonna see a black millionaire doing karate?"