What drove the Baltimore, Maryland born but Yonker, New York raised man Earl "DMX" Simmons to be great was his horrific childhood. By the age of 14, DMX had already been severely abused as a child and even abandoned by his own mother. Bouncing in and out of group homes and institutions in his young adolescence only taught him one thing as a child; no one person would protect him and he was going to have to fend for himself. Fortunately enough, through the experiences of having his own child and having loyal friends he was able to pull himself out of a crack addiction that once plummeted him to rock bottom. His ultimate savior would come via the ability to express himself on the microphone as a MC.
After putting in work in the underground battle rap scene, DMX would land a feature in a Source Magazine column that would eventually earn him his first record deal with Ruffhouse who was under Def Jam Records. Before he was convicted of drug possession and released from Def Jam Records, he released his first two singles "Born Loser" & "Make A Move". Once DMX completed his bid for his drug charge, he earned another shot with Def Jam Records after making noise on underground mixtapes. After generating buzz on guests spots with the likes of LL Cool J & Mase, he released his smash single "Get At Me Dog". This would perfectly set the stage for his debut album "It's Dark & Hell is Hot" (1998) that would eventually sell over 4 million copies. It received high praise across the industry and went on to be labeled as a hip-hop classic by many due to DMX's ability to be a new, gritty, dark, and introspective sensation. This project also housed the Swizz Beats produced menacing and energetic single "Ruff Ryders Anthem". To wrap up 1998, DMX co-starred in the Hype Williams cult hip-hop classic film "Belly".
From the years 1999-2006, DMX released 4 Multi-Platinum albums that would collectively combine to sell over 9 million copies: "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood" (1998, 3x Platinum), "...And Then There Was X" (1999, 5x Platinum), "The Great Depression" (2001, Platinum), and "Grand Champ" (2003, Platinum). DMX forever changed the complexion of Hip-Hop with his raw, energetic and introspective style that ultimately showed Hip-Hop that a rapper could want more than just money. DMX just wanted love for all the times he never had it.