Rap star DMX is following in the footsteps of Ice-T, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and countless other rappers who have moonlighted as actors. But if the great box office or the critical acclaim he received for his performance in the otherwise-maligned Exit Wounds means anything, chances are moviegoers will be seeing a lot more of him.
Born as Earl Simmons on December 18, 1970, in Baltimore, MD, DMX got his start in the music industry as DJ within the Yonkers Street School Projects and rose to prominence guesting on tracks by LL Cool J and the Lox. Shortly after his first album debuted at the top of the Billboard charts, DMX took his first starring role in Belly, hip-hop video director Hype Williams' visually stunning but completely incomprehensible first feature. The film flopped and few noticed DMX's turn as a hyperviolent, drug-addled thug. But Belly's critical and financial shortcomings didn't deter him from acting again. He had a small role in Romeo Must Die and earned critical acclaim for his role as an enigmatic, shady businessman in Exit Wounds, which mirrored DMX's musical career by debuting atop the box office, eventually raking in upwards of 50 million dollars.