Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), known professionally as DMX and Dark Man X, is an American rapper and actor. In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album …And Then There Was X, which included the single “Party Up (Up in Here)”. He has acted in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 the Grave, and Last Hour. In 2006, he starred in the reality television series DMX: Soul of a Man, which was primarily aired on the BET cable television network. In 2003, DMX published a book of his memoirs entitled, E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX.
DMX began in 1988 as a beatboxer. In 1991, Gabriel Grevenstuk from The Source magazine praised DMX in his Unsigned Hype column that highlighted unsigned hip-hop artists. In 1991 he recorded his first demos, Unstoppable Force and Three Little Pigs. His stage name was a tribute to an instrument he used in the 1980s, the Oberheim DMX drum machine, and later was interpreted as “Dark Man X”.
In 1992, Columbia Records signed DMX to their subsidiary label Ruffhouse, which released his debut single “Born Loser”. The single did not get much airplay. The label eventually agreed to release DMX from their contract. He released his second single, “Make a Move” in 1994, and made a guest appearance alongside Jay-Z, Ja Rule, and Mic Geronimo on the classic underground track “Time To Build” on Mic Geronimo’s debut album in 1995. He also appeared on LL Cool J’s single “4, 3, 2, 1” in 1997. Additional guest spots on Mase singles “24 Hrs. to Live” and “Take What’s Yours”, and The LOX’s single “Money, Power & Respect” created a strong buzz. DMX also made a cameo appearance in the Sum 41 music video for “Makes No Difference”.