In a year of ups and downs for hardcore rapper DMX, the history books will reflect that he
ended up on top.
The 27-year-old rapper, born Earl Simmons, saw his sophomore album, Flesh of My
Flesh -- Blood of My Blood, debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart this
week. This repeats the chart-topping success of his debut, It's Dark and Hell Is
Hot, released just seven month earlier. It's Dark and Hell Is Hot moved over
250,000 copies in its first week of release, according to sales watchdog SoundScan, but
DMX had a bigger fanbase to work with this time around and moved 670,227 copies in
the week ending Dec. 27, 1998.
In addition to having a rare double-shot of #1 debuts in the same year, DMX also did
what nobody else could do for over a month: eliminate country superstar Garth Brooks
from the #1 spot. Brooks' Double Live album fell from #1 to #2 for the first time
since its Nov. 24 chart debut. But the double-disc set, which includes live versions of
such hits as "Friends In Low Places" and "Longneck Bottle"
(RealAudio excerpt), still had stellar sales, moving 586,642 copies -- nearly 40,000 more
than in the previous week.
Between the release dates of his two albums, DMX has had a wild ride. Soon after his
debut album hit #1, he hit the road with labelmates Onyx and Def Squad as a part of the
"Survival of the Illest Tour," which hit theater-sized venues on the East Coast and in the
Midwest. He missed the first date of the tour, however, when he turned himself in to New
York police on June 17 after a woman accused him of rape, sodomy and false
On Aug. 20, DMX was fully cleared of all charges brought against him after test results
revealed that his DNA did not match DNA from semen found at the scene of the alleged
DMX returned to the spotlight when the film "Belly" was released on Nov. 4. In the film,
which was directed by hip-hop video director Hype Williams, DMX played Tommy Brown,
a fast-living player whose brother (played by fellow rapper Nas) was attempting to lead a
straighter life. In spite of DMX's popularity and appearances by rapper Method Man and
Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins of R&B trio TLC, "Belly" flopped. The movie fell just short of
recouping its $10 million cost by the time it exited theaters in mid-December, according
With Flesh of My Flesh -- Blood of My Blood making such a strong debut,
however, DMX is seemingly back at square one, ready to take on the world once again.
"A lot of whack motherf---ers out there right now that's killing the charts," DMX said earlier
this year of the state of hip-hop following the release of It's Dark and Hell Is Hot.
"I'm telling them to stop being greedy. I'm saying let some brothers who are actually
talented -- you know what I'm saying -- get some of this money."
"No names," he continued, "but they know who they are. If you all can eat, I can eat. Don't
make me bite you, don't make me eliminate you."
Holiday sales gave over 75 percent of the albums on the Billboard 200 albums
chart a boost, including a few that had fallen off the chart completely.
Alt-rockers Smashing Pumpkins, for example, crept back onto the chart at #199, as
Adore's sales got a holiday bump from last week's 16,089 to this week's 20,668.
Also reappearing on the chart were gangsta-rapper Master P's Ghetto D (#171),
ganja-and-guns rappers Cypress Hill's IV (#178), blues guitarist/singer Kenny
Wayne Shepherd's Trouble Is... (#189), R&B singer Tatyana Ali's Kiss the
Sky (#194), Dave Matthews Band's Live at Red Rocks (#195) and R&B singer
Tyrese's self-titled debut at #198.
Not everyone benefited from increased holiday sales. Last week's highest debut,
Ghetto Fabulous from rapper Mystikal, tumbled from #5 to #18 after moving
230,147 copies, bringing his two-week total to 616,188. Fellow gruff-voiced rapper Busta
Rhymes saw his Extinction Level Event fall from #13 to #21 on sales of 211,749.
Two-week sales for E.L.E., which features the single
href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get- music/Busta_Rhymes/Gimme_Some_More.ram">"Gimme Some More"
music/Busta_Rhymes/Gimme_Some_More.ram">"Gimme Some More"
(RealAudio excerpt), total 447,202.
The rest of the top 10: N' Sync, N' Sync (#3); Jewel, Spirit (#4); Celine
Dion, These Are Special Times (#5); Mariah Carey #1's (#6); Backstreet
Boys, Backstreet Boys (#7); Offspring, Americana (#8); Shania Twain,
Come On Over (#9); and Jay-Z, Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life (#10).