Earl Simmons better known as DMX or Dark Man X was born to the Simmons family on December 18, 1970. He lived in New York as a child but his childhood was far from secure. Much of his youth was spent in group homes because of an abusive relationship with his parents. He is now the father of twelve children. When he turned 18, he started out as a beat boxer. By 1991, he had caught the attention of an author named Gabriel Grevenstuk for The Source Magazine. This author covered him in his “Unsigned Hype” column. Earl’s stage name was also coined after he started playing the musical instrument which was often used in the 80s; the Oberheim DMX drum machine. The name was later expanded and re-construed as “Dark Man X”.
In 1992, DMX made his way to signing labels with Columbia Records’ Ruffhouse and released his first single “Born Loser”. Unfortunately, the single did not do as well as DMX had hoped which led to the end of the contract signed. About two years later, he came up with his second single “Make a Move” and appeared with iconic singers like Jay-Z and Mic Geronimo on tracks like “Time to Build”. He also made a walk-on appearance for music videos such as “Makes No Difference”. DMX finally made it to the top with his single “Get at Me Dog” in 1998. The RIAA rated it Gold and his first major album titled “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” sold over five million copies. In addition to this, it remained number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S.
DMX’s next album followed the same year which was titled “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood” . This album too, remained number one on the charts for three consecutive weeks. In consequence of this, DMX became the second rapper in history to be this successful and have two albums released in the same year to stay on the chart for so long. His third and fourth album “…and then there was X” and “The Great Depression” were released in 1999 and 2001 respectively. “Grand Champ” and “Year of The Dog… Again” followed soon afterwards. In 2011, DMX performed at the BET Hip Hop Awards and said that he was working tirelessly towards his next album.
Over the years, DMX has received numerous nominations for his work and in 2000; he won the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Award at the American Music Awards. He has also been starring in films since 1998 oscillating between supporting and main roles. His portfolio includes Romeo Must Die (2000), Exit Wounds (2001), Cradle 2 The Grave (2003), Father Of Lies (2006), Death Toll (2007) and King Dog (2013) and many more. He is also a proud author of E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX published in 2003, which is a book filled with his memoirs as Earl Simmons as well as DMX.
On a personal front, DMX is a staunch Christian and fathers twelve children. He was married to Tashera Simmons for eleven years and although they are now separated, DMX believes they are still friends. He had a few affairs during his marriage resulting in illegitimate children. He has also experienced legal charges such as possession of illegal substances and driving under the influence of alcohol and has served his sentence. However, such situations have never held him back from being what he truly is; a great singer and one of the best in the business.