Three years ago, he started racking up arrests in Arizona; his November arrest marked his sixth in Maricopa County. He stayed in the state between arrests, despite his previous statements to never return. "At one point, I think I said I'd rather fly around the state than over it," Simmons says outside the Scottsdale nightclub, between puffs of a Newport. "To tell you the truth, I haven't left yet. I think I'm gonna stay. I've been in jail out here, so I guess it's home now."

Simmons recorded ... And Then There Was X in Phoenix. He says he fell in love with the desert and "all the openness," and bought a house in Cave Creek. "I like to go out in the desert and ride quads. It's just me and God out there," he says. He permanently moved there in 2005. It was supposed to be a new beginning. He had a half-million-dollar, adobe-style home, near miles of open trails for riding his ATVs. He had his family, several dogs, and a reality show on BET, DMX: Soul of a Man. He was clean for a while, by all accounts, but at some point everything went astray again.

In August 2007, sheriff's deputies raided his home. According to court documents, they found several firearms (which Simmons was prohibited from possessing), a Bell Atlantic bag containing baggies "with a yellow rock substance," as well as three dead pit bulls and a dozen other dogs in poor condition. DMX wasn't home, and wasn't charged with anything until almost nine months later, when he was slammed with seven misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and four felony drug possessions.

Controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has long been a crusader for animal rights despite the ongoing string of human abuses in his jails, told local media, "We have to send a message that we're not putting up with animal cruelty, no matter who they are."

Simmons had been in New York, and says he'd hired a caretaker, Brad Blackwell, to look after his dogs, but didn't learn until after the raids that Blackwell was checking on them only once a day. Blackwell told sheriff's deputies he'd agreed to watch the dogs "for just a couple of days" while Simmons found another caretaker, and that he didn't want to look after them anymore.

Simmons raised many of the dogs from puppies, and reportedly even threw birthday parties for them. He says he was upset when he learned of their condition.

Arpaio and the media compared DMX to NFL quarterback Michael Vick, another famous guy who'd recently been convicted of dog fighting. "The sheriff went and got Michael Vick, then came and got my dogs," Simmons said in an interview with TMZ. "I wasn't even fighting with my dogs. I love my dogs."

Simmons skipped out on his court date in Maricopa County and went to Florida — where he was promptly arrested for driving on a suspended license. Four days later, he was arrested again in Miami for attempting to purchase drugs from an undercover cop. Meanwhile, Arpaio told local media that as soon as Simmons set foot back in Arizona, he was going "straight to jail."

On July 2, 2008, Simmons flew to Phoenix, and was arrested at Sky Harbor Airport. He posted bond, but 17 days later, he was arrested again, this time at a shopping mall, for allegedly providing false information to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale to avoid paying medical bills.

He pleaded guilty to four of the charges stemming from the raid on his home, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 18 months of supervised probation. During his time there, he was placed in solitary confinement for allegedly throwing a food tray at a guard.

Simmons was released on probation in late April 2009. Everything seemed fine until 11 months later, when he was arrested after a drug test came back positive for cocaine. He pleaded guilty to violating his probation and got six months in jail.

He was released early for good behavior in July. A couple of weeks later, Tashera Simmons announced they were separating after 11 years of marriage. She cited his years of drug use and legal battles, along with the fact that he had fathered children by other women. But she says the two are still on good terms.

Simmons says he's trying to focus on himself and do positive things. He's also trying to strengthen his relationship with God. "I read the entire Bible in lockdown," he says. Asked what he got out of that, he simply says, "Peace."

Simmons' lyrics have long described an intensely conflicted relationship with God. On Flesh of My Flesh, there's a song called "Ready to Meet Him," where he talks directly to God: "I thought that I was special — that's what you told me/Hold me! Stop acting like you don't know me!/What'd I do so bad that it sent you away from me?"

When Simmons started attending Morning Star Sanctified Church in Phoenix last year, Pastor Barbara King had no idea he was "the famous rapper DMX." He was just "Brother Earl," who helped fix things around the church and asked for prayer. She says he has used a cuss word around her only once — and then apologized profusely. He even performed a gospel concert fundraiser at the church in April, where he alternated between rapping and preaching. "This right here, it's all in the name of Jesus," a tearful Simmons said from the stage. "Because that's all it takes is being asked for it in the name of Jesus. I'm talking to somebody! All it takes is for you to ask in the name of Jesus!"

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9 comments
sekesegyename
sekesegyename

You are a strong black brother, and your struggle has not been easy. No one can judge you, for we all have  sinned and come short. I encourage you to listen often to this particular web site.

mosque7.org His messages don't miss a beat. You are not alone. God was with the prophets in the past, and he'll be with you. Come all the way clean. God sees and know all things.Go back to the beginning, because you can't fight all those Pharoahs.. Get you house in order. God will bring you out. Hold on, and be strong.  Alafia

Yorated
Yorated

IAM RALPHY JESUS SALAS JR I SPENT 2 YEARS WITH DMX IN CHILDREN VILEGE HE IS THE BEST FRIEND ANY ONE CAN HAVE, HE IS ALWAYS IN HEART AND PRAYERS, LOVE YOU MY BROTHER YOU STAY SRTONG, YOU ARE GODS SON RALPHY AKA RATED R 1st TEAM PROD LLC

cierra jones
cierra jones

i dnt care if dmx have a prblem cu i no partialy hw he feel i stll listen to hys musiq t2da cu hes real he speks upon hys lfe wit no lys n really i luk up to hym as a male rapper cu he feels pain he wnts hlp n i c it i lu u dmx an my drems will sty truuue (GROWL).............

Carlosegodinez
Carlosegodinez

I can't believe that the author didn't cite "Belly" That's the coolest movie ever. I grew up on that movie. I'm also surprised the author didn't talk about the song on the album "It's dark and Hell is hot" where he talks to Damien. The article was really informative, but bias.

Romanowski45
Romanowski45

"Many famous rappers from troubled backgrounds — including Lil' Wayne, T.I., and Too Short —have been jailed on various charges. But DMX has sold more records in the U.S. than they have, and his rap sheet is the longest."

Now why you have to lump in Too Short with these guys? How many times was he arrested ?I could find one for his attack on a Security Guard, in Boise last year. And I googled that from bed.

The SF WEEKLY'S stories start to sound and look like the NY Post.

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linaimai

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Vera
Vera

Life is not fair. Simmons is blessed but he is his-own-worst enemy.Good news, God helps those that help themselves.

steve
steve

X hold yah head, you'll make it back soon!

 
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