And Then There Was
African-American rapper/hip-hop performer and actor DMX made a reputation for himself as the first artist ever to have his first five albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. His multi-platinum debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, was released in 1998, and his follow-up, the triple-platinum Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood, hit the store the same year. One of rap and hip-hop's brightest stars, DMX gained even more notice in 1999 with his six times platinum certified album, And Then There Was. Known for his barking and growling while rapping, DMX continued to attract the music listener with his fourth album, The Great Depression (2001), and the fifth, Grand Champ (2003). His fans should not miss his newest album in 2005, Here We Go Again.
As a film star, DMX was known for his notable turn as the owner of casino Silk, in the 2001 blockbuster Exit Wounds (starring with Steven Seagal). His good performance garnered him a MTV Movie award nomination. DMX’s wide screen film credits include Belly (1998), Romeo Must Die (2000, with Jet Lee), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003, rejoined Jet Lee) and Never Die Alone (2004). He will also play a role in the forthcoming Daddy Cool (2005).
Off screen, DMX has a criminal history that has made him one of rap's most distinctive personalities. In 1999, he was arrested in Teaneck, New Jersey, when police discovered a gun, crack pipes and 13 pit bulls on the premises of his home. The owner of nine dogs, DMX pleaded guilty to charges of animal brutality, disorderly conduct and ownership of drug paraphernalia, and was punished by making public service declarations for the Humane Society. In 2004, he was arrested for supposedly trying to steal a car and impersonating a federal agent. In 2005, DMX was arrested in The Bronx on suspicion of driving with a suspended license after he crashed into a police car. On the more positive side, DMX has spent his time to support charities, like regularly celebrated Christmas holidays at the pediatric AIDS ward at Harlem Hospital, handing out food to people at the community center on Thanksgiving holidays and donating money to save churches from closing their doors. He also hopes to help single teenaged mothers with his Mariela House Foundation.
Dark Man X
Childhood and Family:
In Baltimore, Maryland, Earl Simmons, who would later be famous as DMX, was born on December 18, 1970. The only child of a single mother, Earl moved to the inner city of Yonkers, New York, with his aunt when he was a little boy because his family wanted to eradicate him from his ring in Baltimore.
Starting at age 8, bothered Earl was sent to a group home for troubled boys, and went on to spend a great deal of his early years living in various state group homes. His cruel and distressed childhood turned the teenage boy brutal, and from age 14-21, he was in and out of jail for robbery.
DMX, whose nickname is The Dog or Dark Man X, fell in love with Tasherah Simmons, a girl who lived above him in his apartment complex when he was young. He married her on August 8, 1999 and became the father of three sons, Xavier, Tocoma and Shawn. On April 2005, DMX and his wife welcomed their fourth child, a baby girl named Praise Mary Ella Simmons.
Here We Go Again
Discovering his saving grace in hip hop, DMX began entering the entertainment industry as a DJ and human beat box within the Yonkers Street School Projects before deciding to take his skills further, as a rapper. He made a reputation for himself in the freestyle battle scene and was heralded in the Unsigned Hype column in hip-hop monthly The Source in 1991. The following year, the Columbia Records boutique label Ruffhouse signed him a record deal and released "Born Loser" as DMX’s debut single that same year. Because he was not a first priority of the record label, DMX left Columbia Records. Disappearing from the limelight for a while, he made his way back to the music industry in 1994 with the single, "Make a Move," but he was forced to abandon his career due to drug possession.
He tried a second chance at showbiz with a performance in one of DJ Clue?'s underground mix tapes, and in 1997, he signed a second major-label deal with Ruff Ryders/Def Jam Records. Before launching his debut album, DMX delivered a electrifying guest appearance on LL Cool J's "4, 3, 2, 1," and rose to fame with a string of guest spots in Mic Geronimo's "Usual Suspects," Mase's "24 Hours To Live," and the Lox's "Money, Power & Respect."
In early 1998, DMX began to shine on his own when he released his debut Def Jam single, "Get At Me Dog." The track was an instant success and became a gold-selling smash on the rap and dance charts. He followed the success by launching his full-length debut album titled It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, in May 1998 with Swizz Beatz as his producer. The album premiered at the top of the Billboard charts and finally received multi platinum certification. The huge victory of It's Dark and Hell Is Hot subsequently launched the singer toward fame. In the same year, DMX tried his hand in acting and received an offer to star as hyper, violent, drug-addled gangster Tommy 'Buns' Bundy in director Hype Williams' disappointing Belly (1998).
DMX’s follow-up album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, which featured the rapper covered in blood on the cover photo, hit the music shelves at the end of 1998. Like its predecessor, the album also debuted at No. 1 on the charts for three consecutive weeks in 1999 and went on to sell over three millions copies. United with his debut album, My Flesh, Blood of My Blood set a record for DMX as the only male singer to have two albums debut at No. 1 in the same year. In the following year, DMX teamed up with Jay-Z and the Method Man/Redman team for his first tour, the blockbuster Hard Knock Life tour.
Coming back to the record studio, DMX delivered his next breakthrough with the release of his next album, ...And Then There Was, at the end of 1999. Following the trend of his previous albums, his third was also an immediate success and debuted at the top position on the Billboard chart. It spawned the hit track, "Party Up (Up in Here)," which became the first Top Ten hit on the R&B charts, and contained the well-received songs "What You Want" and "What's My Name?," and earned the album six times platinum certification.
The rapper returned to the silver screen in the new millennium when he played the supporting part of Silk in Andrzej Bartkowiak’s action Romeo Must Die (2000, starring Jet Lee and Aaliyah), and next appeared on the drama film Boricua's Bond (2000). In the mid, till the end of 2000, DMX again had run-ins with the law that led him to disappear from the scene for awhile.
He made his returned in 2001 when he was cast in the lead role of casino owner Silk, opposite Steven Seagal, in Andrzej Bartkowiak‘s action/thriller Exit Wounds, in which his fine acting received a nomination at the MTV Movie awards for Breakthrough Male Performance. The film was a smash hit in 2001, resulting in a multi picture-signing deal with WB. That same year, DMX also revisited his studio and completed his double platinum album, the more thoughtful The Great Depression. It was released in the fall of 2001 and became his fourth straight album to peak at No. 1 on the charts.
The following year, DMX published his autobiography titled E.A.R.L: Ever Always Real Life and worked with Audioslave for several collaboration tracks. One of their songs, "Here I Come," was featured on DMX’s 2003’s film, Cradle 2 the Grave. The crime/drama film saw him working again with Bartkowiak and star once more with Jet Lee. Both the film and the song received huge success. In September 2003, DMX launched his fifth studio album, Grand Champ, which again debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
In 2004, DMX was back to pursue his film career when he costarred with David Arquette in the drama Never Die Alone (2004), for director Ernest R. Dickerson, and is scheduled to play a role in the upcoming Daddy Cool (2005). Recently, DMX also finished his newest album titled Here We Go Again, which was set to hit the music stores on October 11, 2005.