After years of run-ins with the law, [artist id="1325"]DMX[/artist] has largely kept his name out of the headlines since his release from jail in May.
And while he's scheduled to participate in a mixed-martial arts bout in December, X (born Earl Simmons), got into an unexpected scuffle on Friday night in Colorado Springs when he showed up to a charity show only to be barred from taking the stage.
According to amateur video of the incident, when X and his crew arrived at the Phil Long Expo Center for the show on Friday, they were confronted by venue security, who threatened to arrest the rapper and his entourage if they tried to take the stage. Explaining that the frequently tardy MC — who arrived after 11 p.m. — was supposed to perform at 9:30, security guards attempted to block DMX from taking the stage.
"Earl's DJ went out to do soundcheck and the promoter said he was trying to build up the crowd, so he said, as opposed to 9 p.m., could you have him here at 11 p.m.?" explained X's manager, Nakia Walker. "[His road manager] said that was fine and she called me because the promoter had said they have permits that say they had to close at a certain time, but if that's what he's saying, that's fine." According to Walker, when X's DJ pulled up at 11, followed shortly after by the rapper, he was told that the MC would not be performing because he was late.
"X is a different man now, and in the past he would have gotten angry and blown up, but he gets out and sees people leaving and sees them angry and he starts a prayer in the parking lot to get them calmed down," she said. "Now the crowd is following him back into the building and security is trying to prevent him from getting on the stage." X finally made it to the stage, by which point the sound gear was mostly packed up, preventing him from performing.
While a number of online accounts have claimed that a riot broke out over the incident, and Walker claimed that the local SWAT team was called out when a fan yelled 'F--- the police," Colorado Springs Police Department spokesperson Lieutenant David Whitlock said there was no disturbance to speak of.
"I don't even know if 'clash' is the right word [to describe the scuffle with security officers]," Whitlock said. "It was a minor dispute between the security guards and Mr. Simmons, and our officers never had any contact with Mr. Simmons. It was hardly a riot." Whitlock did clarify that his officers were not involved in preventing X from performing and that no one was arrested in the incident.
X's publicist, Pam Pinnock, said she was injured in the scuffle and though she did not suffer a concussion, as reported, she did have "minor face cuts from someone's boots when I fell and they jumped across my head" as well as some scratches on one of her knees when she got knocked down by a fan rush.
As seen in the fan video of the incident, X was angry when told he couldn't take the stage and informed that fans had already been told he wouldn't be showing up. At one point, a security guard threatened to arrest DMX if he tried to get onstage, to which X responded, "[Arrest me] for what? You ain't no police. I've been paid to perform."
Reps for the promoter of the show, Soulclay Entertainment, could not be reached for comment.
The gig was a slated to be a fundraiser for American Charities, a local non-profit emergency food pantry and clothing center. Along with DMX, the show was supposed to feature appearances from a number of local MCs, including Black Pegasus, Macatic Crew, I AM HIP ROCK, Ti'Jean, Hustle Hard Records artists J Blev, Dirty, Mr. Money (a.k.a. Texas Tycoon), DJ MyzlerE and Dee Jay Bee, according to a press release announcing the gig.
A spokesperson for American Charities, co-director Keith Courlas, said his group was supposed to get 50 percent of the net proceeds from the show at the 14,000-seat venue, but with fewer than 500 fans in attendance — more than half of whom he said got tickets from the promoter or other acts on the bill — his organization did not receive any funds.
"The rider called for him [DMX] to perform from 9-10 p.m.," said Courlas. "The last time we had a rap show in Colorado Springs, it was a band called E-40 and there were a lot of fights and a stabbing in the parking lot, so security, sound and everyone was concerned about the safety at the DMX show. So, our commitment was that the show would end no later than 11 p.m., and that we would try to have everyone out by 10:30."
According to Courlas, the venue staff and security were contracted until 11 p.m., with sound contracted until 10:30. After getting a $7,500 deposit, he said X's team called Soulclay to say they would not arrive until 10 p.m., so the opening acts were pushed back. When X's road manager called back after 10 p.m. to say they would arrive at 11 p.m. instead, Courlas said they were told that wouldn't work and they were asked to come to the venue immediately.
"At around 5 till 11, the sound and security came to us and said, 'This is not your decision anymore, that's it,' " Courlas said. "By this time, the lights were on and the crowd was told DMX would not be performing. People were filing out [with] no problem, mostly because there were very few people there and when he arrived the 75-100 who were left got angry because they now believed he was there and would be performing."
Walker said she has not been able to reach Soulclay Entertainment since before the show, but she believes X was barred from taking the stage because the promoter did not sell enough tickets to pay the rapper the remainder of his fee.