DMX was one of the most successful and influential rappers but unfortunately, more than a few bad decisions have left him living in past glory as his life story is now the ultimate tale of rags to riches and then back to rags. Join us as we take a look at the multiple Grammy Award-nominated rapper and actor’s career, achievements and subsequent fall.
DMX Age, Early Life, and Rise to Fame
DMX was born Earl Simmons to Arnett Simmons and Joe Barker on the 18th of December, 1970, in Mount Vernon, New York, although he was raised in Yonkers, New York. As the story goes, DMX was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but that did not stop him from being abused by his parents who later abandoned him to a group home. The young boy later got himself involved in a life of crime that led to his frequent arrests.
At around the age of 20, DMX was able to find solace in music as he began rapping. His talent was recognized by The Source magazine and he was featured in its Unsigned Hype column in 1991. That same year, he recorded his first demo tapes; Unstoppable Force and Three Little Pigs, which earned him a record deal with Columbia Records. Columbia placed DMX under its subsidiary Ruffhouse Records, through which he released his debut single “Born Loser”. The single was unable to receive much airplay and led to Columbia terminating his contract.
That disappointment did not seem to halt his ambition as he carried on performing in the underground music scene, notably appearing alongside other upcoming New York rappers like Jay Z and Ja Rule in Mic Geronimo’s classic track, “Time To Build” and on LL Cool J‘s “4, 3, 2, 1” among several other songs, which helped to create a buzz around him.
Having already somewhat made waves for himself, Def Jam Recordings signed him up and released his first major-label single, “Get at Me Dog”, which went on to be certified Gold by RIAA. Following the successes of that single, the label released his first major-label album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998 to rave reviews. The album, which included the “Ruff Ryders Anthem” song, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold over five million copies. A few months after his first album release, DMX released his sophomore album titled Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, which also debuted at number one on the chart. This made DMX the first rapper to release two number one albums on the Billboard 200 chart in one year.
In December 1999, almost a year after his second album, DMX released his third album, … And Then There Was X, which featured songs like “Party Up”, “What’s My Name?” and “What These Bitches Want”. The album shot straight to the number one spot and has gone on to sell more than 6 million copies.
In the turn of the millennium, DMX kept up his string of successes by releasing two more Billboard 200 number one albums; The Great Depression and Grand Champ, before signing to Columbia Records in 2006. Under his new label, he released Year of the Dog…Again before choosing to “semi-retire” and become a pastor although he, however, made a comeback to release one more album titled Undisputed in 2012.
His Wife and Kids
DMX has fathered a total of fifteen children, but only four (Xavier, Tacoma, Sean, and Praise Mary Ella) was born to him and his now ex-wife, Tashera Simmons. He married her in 1999 and, the two were said to have been friends since they were kids but only began officially dating after she turned 18. Their marriage lasted until 2010 when Tashera announced their separation.
Despite having wanted to stay by his side, as they both appeared on season 1 of VH1’s Couples Therapy in 2012, the former Mrs. Simmons seemed to have had enough as she went ahead to file for divorce that same year since he was not willing to stop his philandering ways.
Divorce proceedings were completed in 2014 as DMX found himself neck deep in child support payments. The former Ruff Ryder leader’s latest child, Exodus Simmons, was born to him and his longtime girlfriend, Desiree Lindstrom on the 16th of August 2016.
What Happened to Him, Is He Dead?
DMX is very much alive although he has had a few near-death incidents in recent times. In 2016, he was found lifeless in a parking lot in his hometown but was resuscitated by first responders.
There have been numerous reports saying that the rapper would be heading back into the studio to produce music, however, due to his run-ins with the law (tax fraud and child support payments), he has been in and out of prison. He was most recently, in March 2018, sentenced to one year in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Despite what his usually commanding voice and personality might suggest, DMX, who has a height of 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm), is not among the tallest people you would ever come across. He weighs around 81 kg (178.5 pounds).