Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), known professionally as DMX, is an American rapper and actor. He began rapping in the early 1990s, and released his debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998 to both critical acclaim and commercial success, selling 251,000 copies within its first week of release. He released his best-selling album,... And Then There Was X, in 1999, which included the hit single "Party Up (Up in Here)". Since debuting in 1998, DMX has released seven studio albums.
He has been featured 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 was born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, New York, the son of Arnett Simmons and Joe Barker, and was raised in Yonkers, New York. As a child, he was brought up in the Jehovah's Witness faith. Simmons went through an abusive childhood that included being beaten so badly he lost teeth, being abandoned by his parents, growing up in group homes and frequent arrests.