[artist id="1325"]DMX[/artist] spent a lot of time in Arizona in 2008, mostly making court dates and appearing before a judge. Now the fallen rap star sits in a Phoenix jail cell as he awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to multiple charges (animal cruelty, drug possession and theft) in December.
But after X serves his time, he says he's never returning to the state he once called home.
"I'm not looking back," he explained to Fox 10, a local TV affiliate, in an exclusive interview from jail. "I'm not coming back. I'm not coming back for a show. I'm not coming back for a visit. I'm not even driving through the state. If I'm on a plane and they're flying through, I'm gonna go around."
The rapper said he fell in love with Arizona after a late-night studio session a few years ago. He watched the sun rise and said he felt as if he had landed in "God's country." He quickly discovered otherwise, though.
"I met the devil in God's country," X said. "It's not so much who [was the devil], it's what happens and the things that the devil does. It's not so much a person, even though he acts through people. You can't call any one person the devil. Because no one person has the power to be the devil."
DMX denied implying that local sheriff Joe Arpaio was the devil he referred to. In interviews, the hard-nosed law official made no bones about wanting to bring the rapper to justice. Arpaio calls himself "America's toughest sheriff" and gained notoriety for stripping NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal of his honorary police badge after the basketball player's explicit freestyle rap about Kobe Bryant.
DMX, for his part, said he's completed the gospel album he told MTV News about last January. The rapper, who had a penchant for including moving prayers on each of his albums, said he's spending more time with the Bible as he sits in 23-hour lockdown. His plan after his release is to move forward with his transition to becoming a pastor. X has long talked about becoming a prominent member of a church. The rapper believes he's been put in his situation to help someone.
"I came here to meet somebody," he said. "I don't know who it is, but I came to tell them that Jesus loves them. To tell them about the glory of God."
In the roughly 10-minute interview, DMX also discussed his fiancée (based in Miami, where the rapper has also had a number of run-ins with the law), his eight children and his plans to star in a reality show called "Pain & Perseverance."
"I can reach people the average person can't reach because I'm as grounded as I am," he said.
DMX is scheduled to be sentenced January 30 in an Arizona superior court.