Where is DMX now? DMX is out of jail, for starters, but more importantly, the 41-year-old rapper is back on the mic, barking rhymes in his signature style. On Sept. 11, 2012, DMX—born Earl Simmons, often referred to as X, Dog Man X, and Dark Man X—released “Undisputed,” his seventh studio album and first since 2006’s “Year of the Dog… Again”. Why the delay? DMX spent the latter half of the ‘00s in and out of prison, and in 2010, he received a 12-month sentence for violating his probation. He was released in July 2011, and in October of that year, he appeared at the BET Hip Hop Awards, where he told the audience he’d been working “nonstop, every day” on a new album.
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DMX began his career in the late ‘80s, but it wasn’t until the mid-‘90s that he made the move from underground MC to commercial force. In 1999, he struck gold with “…And Then There Was X,” his best-selling album to date. The record contained the single “Party Up,” which reached No. 27 on the Billboard singles chart and broke into the Top 10 on the R&B chart. In 2003, when the album Grand Champ debuted at No. 1, DMX became the first artist in history to have five consecutive albums debut atop the Billboard charts. Sadly, 2006’s “Year of the Dog… Again” failed to grab the top spot, though it did reach No. 2.
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DMX only hit No. 19 with “Undisputed,” selling 17,000 copies, but given the changes that have taken place in the music industry since the rhymer’s heyday, those sales figured were good enough to land him at No. 2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. “Undisputed” received mixed reviews, and while AllMusic.com was less than thrilled with the release, critic David Jeffries wrote, “Don’t hold it up next to his early streamlined classics, but on a “street release” level, “Undisputed” is a great ‘welcome back,’ where veteran artist kicks it like the old days, does well with some new flavors, and drops some non-embarrassing leftovers into the mix, just because they fit.”
To date, DMX has sold more than 20 million records; written a memoir, “E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX (2003)”; and appeared in such films as “Belly,” “Exit Wounds,” and “Romeo Must Die”. If he can stay out of trouble, this “Ruff Ryder” just might become the quintessential hip-hop elder statesman.
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