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Looking at rapper DMX's life is like watching someone punch himself in the face repeatedly. You can easily picture a cherubic angel sitting atop one of the big black guy's shoulders, telling him not to snort that line of coke or skip that appointment with his probation officer. But on the other shoulder, there's a horned red devil prodding him with a pitchfork, urging him to just go ahead and do it.

For DMX, choosing between right and wrong is an extreme struggle — and it's never sounded fiercer than on his unreleased double album, Walk with Me Now and Fly with Me Later. His gruff, deep voice bursts out of him on these tracks, almost like he's barking, truly the sound of a man who calls himself the Dog. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all there, the words of an everyday man falling down and trying to get back up.

Jamie Peachey
Nakia Walker, DMX’s manager, is trying to keep him focused.
Jamie Peachey
Nakia Walker, DMX’s manager, is trying to keep him focused.
DMX at Morning Star Sanctified Church with Pastor Barbara King (center) and another parishioner.
Courtesy of Barbara King
DMX at Morning Star Sanctified Church with Pastor Barbara King (center) and another parishioner.
Don Salter at the boards at the Saltmine Studio Oasis.
Jamie Peachey
Don Salter at the boards at the Saltmine Studio Oasis.
DMX and his attorney, Glenn Allen, asked the judge for leniency at the rapper’s Dec. 16 probation revocation hearing.
Jamie Peachey
DMX and his attorney, Glenn Allen, asked the judge for leniency at the rapper’s Dec. 16 probation revocation hearing.
Jamie Peachey

Lyrically, his new songs paint a striking picture of his duality. He makes liberal use of the words "nigga" and "faggot," and raps about "breaking shanks" in jail and feeding people to javelinas — but then he's also rapping repentance and praying to God.

There are jazz horn samples, funk beats, and rhythmic record scratching on "It Ain't My Fault," and screaming '70s classic rock guitar that drives "The Way It's Gonna Be." And it all sounds phenomenal.

Whether DMX is rapping about shooting people on the streets over an infectious club groove or praising God over somber piano and church bells, his lyrics are raw and heartfelt, filled with tight rhymes wrapped around beats that make heads bob. It feels like dancing and crying at the same time. Even if you can't specifically relate to shooting someone or being in a jail cell, you can relate to being conflicted, and to the struggle of trying to do the right thing when everything is going wrong. That's the story of DMX's life. His music speaks to a lot of people.

DMX is the only hip-hop artist in history to have five straight albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, including two in one year. He has sold more than 21 million albums worldwide. His huge fan base has dwindled as his legal problems have mounted. But he could be like troubled NFL quarterback Michael Vick, staging a triumphant comeback and silencing haters with an MVP-type performance. Because now, for the first time since 2006, there are two albums' worth of great new DMX music ready for release.

And for now, anyway, no one can buy them.


You can hear a few of DMX's new songs exclusively here, but don't expect an album anytime soon. The new DMX record was scheduled for release in March, but it's been repeatedly delayed while the rapper (real name: Earl Simmons) tries to get himself out of trouble — again. He is incarcerated at the Alhambra prison complex in Phoenix — and, in news surprising to his fans but perhaps not to those closest to him — he is being held in the prison's mental health ward.

Simmons, 40, has been in and out of group homes and jails his whole life. His criminal record includes more than 20 arrests across the nation, for rape in New York in 1998 and a stabbing in Denver in 1999 (he was acquitted of both), animal cruelty in New Jersey in 2002 (he pleaded guilty), and numerous drug possession charges.

He has done drugs for decades, mostly marijuana and cocaine. At times, he's also been a heavy drinker. When he got famous, his manager, Nakia Walker, says people kept his missteps quiet, so he tended to get off easy. But now he's in prison again for a probation violation stemming from failed drug tests, and since he's been away from the business for a while, all the media have to focus on are his repeated arrests.

But the fact that DMX is behind bars is only one reason his album hasn't come out yet. There's also wrangling over music licenses, investors, and publishing royalties, all compounded by the fact that, after years of paying legal fees and being a free-spending rap star, DMX is virtually broke.

Her Royal Majesty's Records, which owns the licenses to his album, doesn't want to release the record while DMX is incarcerated — and says it needs more backers for distribution and promotion. The fact that DMX can't promote the record has kept investors away, and he can't afford to put money behind it himself. And his onstage outburst in Scottsdale in November toward Def Jam Recordings president Jay-Z, his former collaborator and potential benefactor, hasn't helped his comeback aspirations.

Over several weeks in late 2010, reporters were granted access to Simmons, his management team, his family members, and people who've worked with him on the new material. With the exception of two brief local television interviews, that access has been exclusive, right up until Simmons' most recent court date on charges of probation violation.

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.

Many claim to find God in prison, and DMX is no exception. But he is different because he's clearly still straddling the fence. He has made handfuls of gospel songs, and says he wants to change. At the same time, he says he's "hungry and angry." And he hasn't changed. Remarkably, he doesn't seem to be faking either side. He's a convicted man in more ways than one.

Those close to Simmons say they're doing everything they can to help him get his life together, but he frequently ignores their advice and makes bad decisions. They all say he's had streaks of sobriety, but ends up backsliding. They agree he has a potential hit album, but every time they get ready to release it, he gets arrested. For Walker, there's more at stake than just his freedom and an amazing new album. "If we don't get Earl together," she says, "X is not gonna exist."

DMX was last released from jail in July and began to build buzz around one of his new songs, "Y'All Don't Know." Over dark synthesizer hooks and a slugging rhythm courtesy of renowned producer and artist Swizz Beatz, he raps: "The sky's the limit, so I'm reaching for the stars/I'm tired of being a nigga that they keep behind bars."

Riding radio interest, Walker started booking shows for DMX. At the Scottsdale club in November, he was on fire, bouncing around the stage like a man possessed, tearing through the tongue-twisters in his lyrics. To the hundreds of screaming people who watched him flawlessly perform his top 10 hits, it was clear that DMX was back.

Six days later, he was arrested at his home in Cave Creek, on the outskirts of metropolitan Phoenix, for violating the terms of his probation (again) and sent to jail without bond. (And throwing a wrench into plans to interview him.) When Walker visited him the following week, he told her, "I can't live like this anymore. This is crazy."

And "crazy" has only been the half of it.


It's around 5 on the evening of DMX's Nov. 12 show, and he's getting ready to sound check. Dressed in a black shirt, long shorts, and hiking boots, he paces around the stage. Suddenly, he brings the microphone up to his mouth and hollers, "WHAT?!"

Walker, who's sitting in front of a speaker, covers her ear and winces. DMX chuckles and lowers his voice, imitating a smooth jazz radio DJ. "Hellooo, and welcome to a mellow evening with DMX," he croons. "Tonight, we'll be playing all of your favorites, like this classic tune ..."

The DJ cues the track for "Slippin'" from DMX's second album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. Near the end of the song, DMX changes the last line of the chorus: "Hey yo, I'm slippin', I'm fallin', I can't get up/Hey yo, I'm slippin', I'm fallin', I gots to get up." The music takes a sudden pause as he screams, "I want to make records but I'm fucking it up!"

Walker's cellphone rings. It's somebody asking what DMX wants in his dressing room, aside from the list they have: fried chicken, Now and Laters, Skittles, and a bottle of Hennessy.

"Hey, Earl, what do you want in your dressing room?" Walker yells.

"Butt-naked women and jelly beans!" he replies with a big grin.

"Make sure it's somebody Angela likes," she jokes, referring to the woman with Simmons, an aspiring model he'd introduced earlier as "my baby mama."

Simmons puts his arms around Angela and hugs her. Earlier, he'd taken her aside and given her a necklace. "So you can look at that and think of me, and know I'll always be with you," he'd told her.

This is the side of DMX people rarely see: the real Earl Simmons. Simmons and those closest to him agree that he and X are two different people. Simmons raises money for his church, loves his kids (all nine, from five mothers), and collects toy cars and trucks because he's still a kid inside. X, on the other hand, frankly doesn't give a shit. He's the ruthless one who steps up to smack people down when Simmons wants to hide.

"Earl is a person who still holds onto a lot of things he suffered in the past, as a child," Walker says, "instead of talking about things and releasing. He expresses himself through his music."

Asked how his new material reflects his life over the past few years, Simmons says, "Indirectly. But that's pretty much been my life up to this point anyway. Not much has changed — jails, streets, speak for the people."

Earl Simmons was born on Dec. 18, 1970, in Mount Vernon, N.Y. His 19-year-old mother already had a 2-year-old daughter by another man. According to Simmons, his father, an artist, came around only when he was trying to sell paintings in New York City. In his 2002 autobiography, E.A.R.L., he writes that his father "never called me on my birthday or helped raise me at all."

As a child, Simmons lived with his mother and sister in a one-bedroom apartment in Yonkers. They were on welfare. He had no father figures, save for his mother's boyfriends, who rarely paid him attention.

Attempts to contact Simmons' parents were unsuccessful. He reportedly hasn't spoken to his father in years, and he's estranged from his mother. "My mother beat me for every man that did her wrong, for every man that fucked her and left her," Simmons wrote in E.A.R.L.

Simmons discovered his talent for words in the third grade. One day, he ran home and proudly proclaimed, "I can spell 'Empire State Building'!" But he says his mother just glanced up and told him to run along. So he started doing other things to get attention, like fighting and throwing chairs at teachers. He was first incarcerated at 10, when the courts sent him to a children's home for 18 months.

After he returned home, he ran away often. By his teens, he was using drugs, stealing, and mugging people.

And he started taking in stray dogs. He'd look all over the neighborhood for strays, the mangier the better, sometimes following them for hours, trying to coax them to his side. They became his only companions, and since dogs weren't allowed inside his apartment building, he slept with them on the roof. He would lie there, looking up at the stars, and think how he trusted dogs more than people because dogs loved him back and would never betray him.

One day, a neighbor kid called Peanut called animal control about Simmons' dog, Blacky; Simmons says officers shot Blacky right in front of him. A week later, a pissed-off Simmons went to school with a sawed-off shotgun taped to his leg. A few days later, he was in a juvenile detention facility, the first of many.

Simmons decided he wanted to be an MC. He was beatboxing and calling himself Beat Box Enforcer, but when he noticed the rappers got more attention, he began writing rhymes. He called himself DMX the Great, taking his moniker from the Oberheim DMX drum machine he used to make his beats. He also linked the initials with the name Darkman X — also known as just X — for his shadow side.

He battled other MCs on the streets, performed at community centers, and continued to steal and sell drugs. In 1991, he was featured in a column called "Unsigned Hype" in hip-hop magazine The Source, and in 1992, he signed to Ruffhouse Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Records. But his first single, "Born Loser," didn't take off, and he was released from his contract.

Around this time, Simmons was reintroduced to a woman named Tashera. They had both attended Yonkers High School, but she remembers first meeting him when he was 11. "I was coming down the block, and he was taking an old lady's purse," she recalls with a chuckle.

They married in 1999, and had four children. She says his drug use "was always a big fight," and worsened with fame and fortune. She noticed his "different mood swings" early on. "I started to think he had multiple personalities. There was Earl, that really, really loved me and was the person I fell in love with, and then there was this dark one, X, who didn't care for me and didn't want to follow the rules."

When Simmons first heard one of his songs on the radio, he was in jail in Valhalla, N.Y., on assault and battery charges. "Spellbound" was getting airplay on WBLS. After he was released, he hooked up with Joaquin "Waah" Dean and his brother, Darrin Dean, and formed a company called Ruff Ryders, which set up a record deal for DMX with Def Jam. His first album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, was released in May 1998. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart, thanks largely to hit singles like "Ruff Ryders Anthem."

Simmons' career flourished. His second album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, was released in December 1998, and also debuted at No. 1. He was the second rapper to have two albums debut in the top spot that year; the other was Tupac Shakur.

Over the next five years, he released three more albums: ... And Then There Was X (1999), The Great Depression (2001), and Grand Champ (2003). All debuted at No. 1. His last studio album, Year of the Dog ... Again, was released by Columbia in 2006. It fell short of debuting at the No. 1 spot by about a hundred copies.

Between albums, he starred in several movies, including Last Hour, Exit Wounds, and Romeo Must Die.

But despite his commercial success, his personal problems continued. His rap sheet, like his music, would become epic.


In June 2004, DMX made headlines when he was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York. He'd reportedly tried to steal a car by telling the driver he was an FBI agent, then crashed his SUV — with a billy club and a bag of crack in it — through a parking lot gate. He was charged with impersonating a federal agent, possession of cocaine, possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and attempted carjacking. He pleaded guilty, paid several fines, and served only seven days as part of a plea bargain.

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!"

"If you listen to his prayers and the hurt inside him, he is crying out for help," King says. "He's a great person, someone you can depend on ... he does know the word of God. He just needs deliverance."

As part of trying to get his life together, Simmons turned himself into authorities in Los Angeles in July for a reckless driving charge he received in 2002. He served 18 days of a 90-day sentence and returned to his home in Cave Creek, hoping to stay a free man.


Many of the new DMX songs were written and recorded on the first take, right after he first heard the beats. "He is truly one of the world's greatest rappers and a genuine poet," says Don Salter, owner of the Saltmine Studio Oasis in Mesa, Ariz., where DMX recorded Walk with Me Now and Fly with Me Later. "He has a spontaneous ability to rhyme, reason, and record masterpieces on the fly."

Some of them reflect on his chaotic life. Perhaps most haunting is "Soldier," which begins with a collage of sound bites from news stations about his varrests, laid down over a melancholy piano hook and marching beat. In the first verse, DMX raps: "Ran through the streets, made it out of NY/Come to AZ, cowboys trying to end me/Man, you can't be serious, homie/Besides mountains, ain't a fucking thing you can show me."

Whenever DMX has been arrested in Phoenix, Arpaio has been right there, helping to make it a media production, saying the rapper "never learns his lesson" and vowing to treat him the same as any other prisoner — which includes making him wear pink underwear like the rest of the MCSO inmates. A couple years ago, DMX told TMZ, "For the record, fuck Sheriff Joe." Asked if he feels he's been treated unfairly, Simmons says, "I'd say I've been given a lot of unfair treatment. But I'm not gonna let that dictate what I do."

Other new DMX songs address his relationship with God. Fly with Me Later consists entirely of gospel hip-hop songs. In "Have You Eva," he raps about everyday struggles, over R&B and soulful female backing vocals. But the lyrics apply to Simmons as much as anyone: "Have you ever seen something that you wanted so bad?/Then you got it and wished it was something you never had?/Don't beat yourself up, like 'Where did I go wrong?'/Just get back up, pray on it, and go on."

Many of the tracks feature beats contributed by Swizz Beatz, Waah and Darrin Dean's nephew. Beatz sold his first beat to DMX when he was 17. He has gone on to produce music for Beyoncé and Busta Rhymes, and now runs his own label, Full Surface Records.

When Beatz initially sent the music, DMX had been out of jail for a while. "He was very diligent at being clean and maintaining his sobriety. He was very clear-headed," Salter says. "I think he really did buy into the idea that he was going to get his life together and get his career back."

But by 2010, Simmons' career had fallen apart. He left Def Jam in 2003, claiming it was because the new label president, Jay-Z, wasn't promoting his albums. Walker says Jay-Z let Simmons go so he could deal with his problems, and didn't demand the $2 million Simmons would have owed for not fulfilling his contract. (Jay-Z's publicist at Universal did not respond to interview requests for this story, and an interview request through his book publisher was declined.)

Simmons signed to Bodog Music in 2007 to record and release Walk with Me Now and Fly with Me Later. After that label shut down in 2008, International Arts Management and Her Royal Majesty's Records retained the rights to the songs. According to IAM's CEO Peter Karroll, the plan is still to release the record. "I've always felt the guy was a creative genius and deserved another shot," he says. "I think this album has the potential to take him back to number one."

But Karroll says whenever they got ready to release the album, Simmons would get arrested. He doesn't want to release the record while he's in jail. Karroll also says once the album's released, they need a budget for distribution and promotion.

Karroll says he has received several investor offers, but negotiations collapse every time DMX lands in jail. Ideally, Simmons could buy back his licenses, but he doesn't have the money. Somebody who has sold millions of albums could conceivably live off publishing royalties, but Simmons admits he never looked at his finances the first 10 years of his career.

When Nakia Walker came on board and looked at Simmons' business papers last year, she says she discovered someone had been stealing his publishing royalties for more than a decade.

On April 26, 2010, Simmons filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against Rich Kid Entertainment, a company he'd hired in 1999 to collect his royalties. The lawsuit alleges that instead of taking the 10 percent cut its contract dictated, Rich Kid pocketed 100 percent of Simmons' publishing profits. "DMX has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and has had No. 1 singles and albums on the Billboard charts, which in turn have generated a great amount of revenue for Defendants, but has left [DMX] with nothing," the suit says. The lawsuit is still pending. Walker says she's busy dealing with other problems, including promoters threatening to sue over concerts DMX missed because he was incarcerated.

When Simmons isn't in jail and it's a "good day" for him, he'll typically go in the studio until 5 or 6 a.m. Then he'll go for breakfast, take a nap, and go riding quad bikes through the desert. He might stop to shoot pool somewhere, then watch movies at home. "He has to be around the right people at all times, even when he's away from us," Walker says. She is doing everything she can to keep him focused on positive things. "We're reaching out to Swizz [Beatz]. Busta Rhymes is calling, he wants to help. Flava Flav is calling, he wants to help," she says. "And I'm not lying to people. I'm telling them, 'He needs help. It's time we address it. It's time we come together and save his life. Or else he's going to die.'"

For years, DMX's alternative to the streets was the studio and the stage. With no alternative, the prospects aren't good. "That's my biggest fear, that I'm going to get a call, and ... I don't want that to happen," Walker says. "I love him. The world loves DMX, but we love Earl. That's what matters to us."


During his high-energy performance in Scottsdale, DMX took a break to talk to the crowd. What he said — and the fact that someone videotaped it – could be a major blow to his comeback aspirations: "New York to AZ, niggas must be craz-y/I'm a dog — fuck Jay-Z! Ya hear? Ya hear?"

"I need a little feedback," he continues. "What do y'all think is the state of the record industry right now? You know, I'm an artist, so I kind of have biased views, but I think most of those niggas suck. I think they not only suck, but they suck dick."

He finished his rant with this freestyle: "My take on it is: You got Patrón in your cup? Good for you! You got a bitch that wanna fuck? Good for you! You sittin' on 24s? Good for you! You got Lamborghini doors? Good for you! But at the end of the day, I ain't got that shit. And I really don't give a fuck if you got that shit. Because you ain't giving it to me!"

By the next afternoon, the video had gone viral, and his "Fuck the Industry"/"Fuck Jay-Z" speech was the talk of countless hip-hop forums.

Ironically, Swizz Beatz had released "Y'All Don't Really Know" that day, and was getting positive feedback. He told Walker that Jay-Z had approached him about doing something with DMX — before he heard about the video.

Beatz defended DMX in an interview with Vladtv.com. "There's no problem with DMX, with Jay," he said. "X is forever my brother ... he's had this trouble in his life that nobody cared about when he wasn't successful. ... I just pray for X a lot, man, because I remember people couldn't even follow up after his performances. Period."

Walker says DMX has "no problem" apologizing to Jay-Z. "They don't have any ill intentions toward one another," she says. "The reason Earl did that, and this is something that came out of his mouth, is because it rhymed with 'AZ,' and it got a roar out of the crowd. And that's really it. X wanted to address it before he got locked up."

Shortly after Simmons got sent to prison, he stopped granting interviews. According to Walker, he wanted to wait until after his sentencing on the probation violation charges.


I'm still the project, huh?" Earl Simmons is dressed in the black-and-white-striped suit of a Maricopa County prison inmate, with the word "Unsentenced" in red on his back, talking to a photographer. It's just after 8 a.m. on a Thursday in mid-December, and he's handcuffed in a downstairs courtroom.

This is Simmons' probation revocation hearing. Though he's often had bags under his eyes and stubble on his face lately, he looks rested, thinner than he was a month ago.

When the proceedings start, Simmons pleads guilty to a felony probation violation. Judge Christine Mulleneaux, who presided over his previous probation violation case, accepts the plea. But, she adds, "His substance abuse issues are at the root of this problem. He's been on some type of substance since he was 14."

Simmons' probation violation report shows he admitted using cocaine on Aug. 12 in Los Angeles, and again on Oct. 20. Drug tests were positive for cocaine on Oct. 12, 15, and 25. He failed to show up for his drug test on Oct. 28.

"You went on a downward spiral," the judge tells him. "Your criminal history goes back to 1988. It's going to continue if you don't care for your mental health."

In the courtroom, Simmons' supporters are praying. King is here, along with a woman who's holding one hand on the Bible and the other up toward Simmons, whispering from the Book of Psalms.

Prior to sentencing, the judge asks Simmons if he has anything to say. He bows his head. "I did make the effort that I could," he says. "And I appreciate any help you can give me."

Mulleneaux passes the sentence: one year in prison, minus 113 days already served. Simmons casts a disappointed glance at his attorney, but holds his head high. Though he received the maximum sentence for his offense, he got nearly four months shaved off right away. If he can be a model prisoner, he might get out even sooner.

Four days after he was sentenced, Simmons was admitted to the Flamenco Mental Health ward at the Alhambra prison complex and denied visitors for 30 days. His mental health, particularly the long-circulated rumor that he has bipolar disorder, was not something he would comment on, saying only, "That's way too personal."

After the news that he'd been moved to the mental health ward — where he remained as of press time — Nakia Walker issued this statement: "He is not crazy! Earl's stay inside of the Flamenco Prison Complex in Arizona, as weird as it may sound, will be beneficial. Does he deserve to be caged in a cell? No! That's why he's not! He sleeps in a dorm that is complemented with doctors, medical attention, and treatment."

As he's being fingerprinted, he turns to the handful of spectators and smiles at them. Walker is wiping tears from her eyes.

As he's led out the steel door, Simmons says, "Yo, I'll be out in two and a half, three months, all right?"

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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.

linaimai
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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