arl Simmons is many men. In one respect he is a loving husband and
father of four. On another plane, he is DMX, a talented and world
renown emcee that has moved millions and millions of albums. Then there is X, the volatile, Yonker's native who unpredictable nature is legendary.
When AllHipHop.com interviewed The Dog on a dank, wet June day, all sides of Earl were present. Label reps swarmed, a camera crew taped his every move and his wife and only daughter basked in the festive moment as well. During one phone conversation, X abruptly yanks the phone cord on a unknown publication after becoming disenchanted with their line of questioning. slamming the phone down
saying, "They were asking stupid questions," he barked. Moments later, Earl returns cooing with his daughter and joking with those in the room as if the act of rage never happened.
And then there is DMX, a rapper where the abnormal is the norm. Away from the game for four years
he has seen a slew of court cases, jail stints, and label woes, but somehow he has managed to keep it together. Somehow through the apparent chaos in his life, hes found the piece of mind to come back to
rap. Here he shares his plans for Year of the Dog Again, why the police ar always on his back, and how he manages to maintain through struggles that would've broken many years ago.
AllHipHop.com: What's the best part of you life right now? DMX: Being alive. AllHipHop.com: Being alive? Its that simple? DMX: Yeah, I mean, with that, comes everything, you know what I mean? AllHipHop.com: What's number one on your agenda business-wise? Does that even matter? DMX: Its just a different direction. One does not have priority over the other. Business is business, and I'm going to take advantage of it. Art-wise, from the artist point of view, my most important project is this album. I think its going to be my biggest record. AllHipHop.com: Why do you say that? You've had a lot of success over the years. DMX: For one, we finally get to have that song "A Conversation With God." We need that song. I wrote those songs to get people to have a way to talk to the Lord. AllHipHop.com: Why do you finally get to do it on this CD? DMX: The devil's not looking for the club joints. Club joint, party joint? Sound like the same record to me. AllHipHop.com: So, the last time we talked, you were saying that Def Jam was Left Jam and you weren't rocking with them anymore. DMX: That's how phony it was. You say we are a family, trick me into an album for one year so you can sell the company. Then say you don't want to talk about it no more. I'm like, "Damn, yo." Lyor wanted to quit. He said I inspired him. That was big. You know, money used to carry bags for Run-DMC and now he's the president of Def Jam. [Editor's note: Lyor Cohen began his career in the music industry as a road manager for Run-DMC] And he says I inspired him and I'm like [surprised]. AllHipHop.com: You think that was just talk? DMX: No, I didn't think i was bulls**t. Dude came to Yonkers at four o'clock in the morning just to see me. My jaw was wired shut. AllHipHop.com: So now you are at Sony and its the best place for you. DMX: Yup. AllHipHop.com: If you are really happy at Sony... DMX: I didn't say I was really happy. I haven't been there long enough, but things are going well. AllHipHop.com: So, you haven't felt the need to punch anybody out yet. DMX: Nah. No lawsuits. AllHipHop.com: Well, that's good. Why do you feel the need to go after Def Jam artists like Rhianna and Jeezy? You called him Young Cheesey on BET... DMX: I thought that's what he said. I didn't... [General laughter in room] DMX: At least I corrected myself. If I'ma diss a n***a, I'm gonna say, "F**k you, you b*tch ass n***a." And I didn't diss homegirl [Rhianna]. I'm just like, "[Def Jam] this is the stuff y'all putting out? And y'all gonna put my s**t to the left?" Come on, you can't be serious. Like that's hot? That's why I said, "This s**t is kinda hot - not." First of all, they stole Will Smith's beat for "Switch." They took the n***a's beat and put some random [person] that can't sing - it's like...come on, man. She ain't hit notes like that. AllHipHop.com: So, it's not Rhianna as much as it is Def Jam? DMX: Yeah, and a lack of quality in the music. Take somebody's beat, put some n***a on the girl and say, "Dance." AllHipHop.com: And you feel that's not fair? DMX: That's some sucker s**t. Its like, "Where are you going with this?" AllHipHop.com: It's like music isn't just music for you. What is your music for you? DMX: Therapy. I definitely need a way to express myself. I get frustrated quick. I'd be doing it with nobody around. AllHipHop.com: We talked about Sony, we talked about Def Jam... DMX: F**k Def Jam! What? AllHipHop.com: What's the status with Ruff Ryders and your Bloodline Records? DMX: Status is the same. I'm putting the Bloodline project in my own hands. Forget hiring people to do your s**t. People got agendas, man. I'm like, "F**k it, I'll do it myself." AllHipHop.com: What is your agenda? DMX: To get my artists to where they need to be. They are extremely talented. Hot. [Looks at the mirror and starts laughing]. I'm like what the f**k just happened? Some Twilight Zone s**t. I thought those were the other people [in the room]. DMX's wife Tashera: You got any more pretzels for Grace? DMX: [jokingly] Huh? Who? What? Yeah, I got some more. [Baby enters room] This is my priority. This is my number one priority. AllHipHop.com: How many kids do y'all have together? DMX: Four. AllHipHop.com: And your eldest son, Xavier, is like a grown man now - does he rhyme? DMX: No. AllHipHop.com: Do you want them do do it? DMX: I want them to do what they want to do. Whatever they have a passion for, that's what I want them to do. My father, he faked it and I'm not the one to fake s**t. Xavier likes the movies though. He's been in a few movies. He's in Belly, the very first scene. AllHipHop.com: So, you have your kids, your wife, I've seen the trailer for your reality show. What do you want to get out of your reality show. People already get some much from your music. DMX: A lot of people think I'm mean and get to talk to me. I have fun too. People are like, "She wants to say hit to you, but...[they are scared]." Like I am going to say, "Hi, you stupid b*tch." AllHipHop.com: This will show people the true DMX? DMX: Yeah. AllHipHop.com: What's the difference between Earl Simmons and DMX? DMX: Nine letters. AllHipHop.com: Same person? I know its not the same person. DMX: Earl is good. X sounds good. X is a problem. DMX is the performer. X is a problem. AllHipHop.com: X is the one that gets arrested and all the legal stuff? DMX: That's DMX that gets arrested. [Laughter] AllHipHop.com: Why do you keep getting arrested?
DMX: They want to keep their name in the paper. AllHipHop.com: Like who? NYPD? DMX: NYPD and other police departments. AllHipHop.com: Don't you think that you sometimes play into their hands? DMX: Sometimes, they write me up, give me a ticket and I'm like, Are you serious? You have to handcuff me just to give me a f**kin' ticket? The same thing that makes you laugh, makes you cry. Sometimes I'm drunk doing 150 miles per hour and they let me go. [Police officer says,] "My kid loves you. Have a good night." Some times its "You're DMX, please step out of the car [to be arrested]." AllHipHop.com: So its luck of the draw. You're one of the few rappers that makes it clear that you have a family and a wife. How do you and Tashera make it through these things? DMX: We're friends. We're friends first. If we were to get a divorce today, she'd still be my best friend. [looks to daughter] Nahmean? AllHipHop.com: You said that that you called Ma$e when you were considering the pulpit. Do you still feel his advice is valid even though he's gone back on it by signing with G-Unit? DMX: I think that's what made him go back. Right after that conversation, I heard he was partying. I think he took his own advice. AllHipHop.com: You don't feel like its a contradiction? DMX: He feels like its a contradiction. Me and Ma$e are cool, but I wouldn't just stand around and talk to him for an hour. Its like, "What up" and keep it moving." [to baby] Yes, that's my baby. You love you Da Da, don't you? AllHipHop.com: So you wouldn't talk to Ma$e for an hour? DMX: I saw him in front of [Sean "Diddy" Combs restaurant] Justin's in Atlanta. We talked for about an hour and a half - in the parking lot. It was just interesting to me to see how serious he was about [religion and the church] and I was impressed. I'm not easily impressed. I spot the fake s**t, sniff out the bulls**t from a mile away so put the smile away. You can spot a phony n***a. [Plays with daughter] AllHipHop.com: You are going to go to the pulpit when He calls you, but right now you are in Hip-Hop. DMX: What I realize now is that this is the pulpit. You know? AllHipHop.com: What makes this the pulpit? Some people feel like Hip-Hop is dead. DMX: For people to say Hip-Hop is dead, that means they don't know what the f**k they are talking about. Hip-Hop is a lifestyle. Rap is the music of Hip-Hop. Graffiti is the art. Breakdancing is the dance. Its a lifestyle. Its not f***in' music. People stay getting it twisted. Hip-Hop isn't dead. You can't kill this. We're like three generations deep in here. You can't be serious. I remember hearing the first rap record on the radio and I was in the hospital. My man was in the hospital and he had got stabbed up. And he was like, "Yo, sonny, come here they about to play the first rap record on the radio." I listened with him and they played the Fatback Band first, and then [Sugarhill Gang's] "Rapper's Delight." How the f**k he found out they was about to play that s**t? I have no idea! [Room exploded into laughter]. I been with rap since the beginning. Hip-Hop existed before rap. I've followed since it came out. AllHipHop.com: Where do you fit into the current climate of Hip-Hop? DMX: I mean, I can only be at one place - at the top. They don't get in where I fit in. AllHipHop.com: There is this so-called "Bring New York Back" movement. Are you trying to do that? Does New York need to "come back?" DMX: For the most part, I'll probably smack one of these n***as on the street. "Lean with it, rock with it?" [Slaps his hand] What the other one, with boys with wigs on? [referring to Da BackWudz "I Don't Like The Look Of This (Oompa)"]... the one with Willie Wonka. AllHipHop.com: Oh, you mean Backwudz. So, if people are doing that stuff, cool but that's not you. DMX: You can hold people for little while [with such imagery] if you are really saying something. You can't grab their attention with nothing, but if you aren't saying anything you're not going to hold on to them. AllHipHop.com: What else are you going to be saying on the new album? People aren't really listening. DMX: That's only the main people that ain't listening. This lady, she had five kids and she just lost three of them at once. I was like, "What?" and she said, "Lord Give Me A Sign" gave her a reason to live. Just to hear that...I was like, "Wow.' I sold 20 million records, but I didn't touch her [until that one]. Not only did I touch her, I touched her when she needed to be touched. I got a hundred n***as that come up to me and all that is regular s**t. We from New York, its slick talk all day, but even though I might not admit it, I did some good. [plays with daughter] AllHipHop.com: You are a living legend. Would you agree with that? DMX: At the risk of sucking my own d**k, definitely. [Laughter] I gotta ride with that. AllHipHop.com: If you could do this journey all over again, would you change anything? DMX: The lessons I've learned are priceless. AllHipHop.com: What's the most valuable lesson you've learned? DMX: I have no idea. AllHipHop.com: No idea? DMX: [The things I have experienced] gives you a different perspective on life, period. AllHipHop.com: How does this one compare to the Def Jam album that we heard a while back? DMX: I recorded a lot of joints. This album will be heard. Its the same album, but a few more joints. Do you have a Now-N-Later? AllHipHop.com: Do I have a Now-N-Later? No. DMX: [Turns to another person] Do you have a Now-N-Later? Other Person: Do I have a ventilator? No. AllHipHop.com: On "Who We Be," you got very political. What made you come off like in that song and video? DMX: I look at each song as a single and I knew what that song was capable of. AllHipHop.com: That was the best video of that year too. DMX: [Plays with daughter] AllHipHop.com: No, you have many classic records, but people aren't doing records like that anymore. DMX: That's why I am like, "What the f**k are we doing?" N***as coming out in slippers...flip-flops and socks. Like, "Come on, man, you wilding!" What if I came out in flip-flops? [Laughter] Come on man.