DMX, “Dog Years” (Originally Published January/February 2009)

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In July, DMX has found in trouble with the law again. While sources say X is trying to get his life in order, there has been more than one occasion where he lost control. In our January/February 2009 issue, we created a timeline of X’s missteps with drugs and the law throughout 2008. Fast forward to today, let’s hope X can get back on his feet and focus on bigger and better things.

 

Once a chart-topping, stadium-rocking rap titan, still a beloved figure in the game, DMX had an awfully rough ride in 2008.

Written By: Clover Hope
Photography By: Matthew Salacuse

TMZ.com, the shameless, sardonic destination for nonstop celebrity coverage, had a ball with headlines about Earl “DMX” Simmons this past year. Any of many can sum up the kind of 2008 it was for the Yonkers rap star: “DMX Released From Jail, Sent Straight to Jail.” “DMX Must Mean ‘Arrested’ in Some Language.” “DMX Stops, Drops, Goes to Emergency Room.” “DMX Arrested Again…Seriously.”

Jail has been a frequent tour stop for the 37-year-old MC since childhood, but this year his legal burden was heftier than usual: seven arrests (three within a month), numerous warrants, three felony cases pending in Arizona and four different attorneys representing him throughout the year. What happened to the multiplatinum-selling, Steven Seagal–moviestarring, clearly-nuts-but-still-lovable dog enthusiast who brought Ruff Ryders Entertainment to prominence a few years back? Rumors blame his well-known drug habit for turbulence both legal and musical. (His last album came out more than two years ago.) While X has said that his battle with drugs is ongoing, he refuses to get into specifics about it over the phone (and he was M.I.A. for a scheduled interview in Chicago), instead offering that he has gone through a rehab program and is not currently using any hard drugs.

As for the career holdup, DMX faults Bodog Records—the Canadian label he signed to in December 2007—for the delay of his two albums, Walk With Me Now and You’ll Fly With Me Later, originally due this past summer (and then October) as a gospel-secular companion set. For his part, X says he’s recorded a bunch of tracks and shot music videos. On the home front, he confirms that he and his wife of nine years, Tashera Simmons, are divorcing. In October, he welcomed a baby girl, Xuriyah, with his new girlfriend, in Miami. The year’s setbacks, he concludes, are simply trials from a higher being. “I’m in God’s hands,” says X. “I’m a jewel of God. That’s why the Devil works so hard on me.”

Whether DMX ends up incarcerated for a long time depends on the outcome of his cases in Arizona—and whether he can stay out of further trouble. Here, in the meantime, we map out a headspinning time line, and those familiar with his legal issues help untangle the web.