Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), better known by his stage name DMX, is an American rapper and actor who rose to fame in the late 1990s. His stage name pays tribute to the Oberheim DMX drum machine, an instrument he used when he made his own rap beats in the 80's. As an actor, he has starred in the films “Belly,” “Romeo Must Die,” “Exit Wounds,” “Cradle 2 The Grave” and “Last Hour,” and his own reality television series “Soul of a Man” on the American cable television network BET. In 2002, DMX wrote an autobiographical book titled “E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX.”
In May 1998, he released his debut major-label single under Def Jam Recordings, "Get At Me Dog,” which was certified gold by the RIAA. His first major-label album “It's Dark and Hell Is Hot,” was released in May 1998 and debuted on the top spot on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The album featured four singles, "Get at Me Dog," "Stop Being Greedy," "How's It Goin' Down" and the "Ruff Ryders Anthem." It was certified 4x platinum by RIAA.
Later that year in December 1998, DMX released his second album, “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood.” It entered the Billboard 200 at #1 and stayed there for 3 consecutive weeks. The album, which featured the single, “Slippin’,” eventually went 3x platinum. DMX was the second rapper to have two albums released in the same year debut at #1 on the Billboard 200.
DMX released his third album, “…And Then There Was X,” in December 1999. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, his third consecutive album to do so. "Party Up" was his most successful single, and became his first Top Ten hit on the Billboard R&B Singles chart. “…And Then There Was X” is DMX's best-selling album to date, going 6x platinum.
DMX returned to the studio and completed his fourth album, “The Great Depression.” Released in October 2001, it was his fourth straight album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200. With hits such as "Who We Be,” "We Right Here,” and "Shorty Was The Bomb,” the album quickly went 3x platinum.
In 2003, “Grand Champ” became DMX's fifth straight album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. This made DMX the only artist in history to have 5 albums, and his entire album catalog, debut at #1 with hits "Where Tha Hood At" and "Get it on the Floor." After its release, he informed the public that he planned to retire, and that “Grand Champ” would be his final album.
In January 2006, DMX signed to Columbia Records, the label that released his early single "Born Loser.” DMX recorded his next album while switching record labels, causing numerous delays. The album “Year of the Dog...Again” was finally released in August 2006. It missed the #1 spot on Billboard 200 by only one hundred sales.
“The Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter” was DMX's greatest hits album, was released in June 2007. Def Jam also released a new compilation album entitled “The Best of DMX” which features hit singles including "Where the Hood At?" and "X Gon' Give It to Ya."