of all, thank you for doing this. This is going to be great and
we're going to send this out to a lot of people. So you'll have
a lot of world quest on your time. So it's a little bit of an
DMX- My pleasure.
talk a little bit about the album, "Grand Champ". The
producers you've worked with. You've always found new people but
there's also some people you've worked with in the past. Who are
people that like, you know what I'm saying, that I work with are
the same people I've always work with. Grease, P.K., Swiss. You
know. I always pick up new cats. Whoever got a hot beat. I'm not
dick riding. I'm not chasing down the same nigga everybody else
chasing down in order to get one beat. It ain't that serious.
I'm not looking for a beat to sell my music.
heads is new "Where the Hood at". How did u get hooked
up with that?
DMX- D brought
it to me in the studio. I was close to being done. I was pretty
much like close to being done. I was planning on writing or coming
with no new songs. But as soon as I heard the beat, it was like
theres no way I can get away from this. I gotta blaze this one.
Just like, there's another one I just did a couple days ago. Have
u heard it?
about the blow. As soon as I heard the beat, I was like there's
no way I can walk away from this beat. There's no way.
you find that when you're near the end of the creative process,
finishing the album, that's when all these hot new beats come
its just a continuous flow. Ummmm you worked in a lot of different
cities: Arizona; Chicago; L.A.
there some reason why you picked these cities?
DMX- Yea I
pick them for different reasons. I pick each city for different
for instance is the desert. Its like peaceful. I can really get
into the thought process out there. And I can ride the quads.
You know. Ride all day, rap all night. You know. Arizona's good
for the soul.
about the other cities?
DMX- I went
to Chicago because Chicago was the hood. When I thought about
ghetto, I though about Chicago. I hadn't been there in a while.
So I said, let me go out there. I met my man Kato out there, rest
in peace. You know.
talk a little about Kato because in the video, there's quite a
few people wearing Kato shirts. Who is Kato to you?
he was a friend to me. You know what I'm saying. He was a friend
to my family. His wife, my wife friends. He's a husband, father
and CEO of Denaro Records. Record label out of Chicago, got a
couple artists just got signed. Just got a deal. That was my dawg.
Dawgs for life. Kato rest in peace.
have so many other things that you're working on, Bloodline films
for instance. You want to talk a little bit about "Never
Die Alone" and what people can expect from it.
Die Alone"… .People can expect to see what they've
never seen out of me in a movie, in a character. You know. Its
not what I've been doing, you know, thus far. But its definitely
something interesting, new. Something I think I carried. I carried
better than my last two roles. Something I can relate to more.
I read the books. It's the first of the author's, Donald Goines,
books to be made into a movie. I'm honored to be the first to
be given permission by his estate to do that. Like I said, its
not what my fans have seen from me in movies.
been in like 8 movies already. So how is this one any different.
Besides your personal involvement,… .
I think besides "Belly", this is like the realest role
I've ever done. Its real with an undeniable truth to it. Its wrong,
with an undeniable right to it. That's what it is. You know. That's
what truth is.
your son is in the movie?
DMX- Yea my
son, my 10 year old son, Xavier. He plays… He plays my son.
He plays the younger version. Because the son is also younger
in the movie. There's a time lapse of 20 years, I think in the
movie. You know, so I'm a young guy then I'm a older guy. So he
plays the younger version of my son. And I bust him in the head
with a bottle, like "Sit down, don't you get up." Talk
greasy to him, all crazy. I asked him while he was doing it if
he enjoyed doing it. Because just because I'm doing it doesn't
mean its something I'm going to push on my kids. "You're
going to do this and…." I want to let them pretty much
be themselves and help them along the way. And he enjoyed doing
it, wants to do more of it. So I'm going to be there for him.
involved in quite a few charitable efforts: the Mary Ella foundation
and your summer camp , Camp Ureka. But not a lot of people know
that you're involved.
DMX- You said
a lot of people don't know?
Theda- A lot
of people are unaware that you have been very active in charity
work and reaching out to the community.
DMX- I don't
really… I don't really do what I do, for people to know
about what I'm doing. You know what I'm saying. Whoever I'm benefiting,
they know. And that's all that really matters. I don't do it for
"Call channel 7! Call channel 9! Call channel 11. Tell them
I'm over here giving away " It ain't that serious. Im ah
go, and I'm ah do it. And be out. Cause that's what I came for,
was to do it. I ain't come around to do it and sit back and have
u tell me how great I am for doing it. You know what I mean. Its
like "Yea man, I see you needed it. I'm out" You know
what I mean.
us a little bit about what the Mary Ella Foundation does.
Well what it does and what its going to eventually do are two
different things. Right now what we're doing is… .uhhh we
have an annual thanksgiving dinner. You know for the homeless
or kids in group homes. Stuff like that. They can have family
on Thanksgiving. I'm there myself, you know what I'm saying, serving
the food and all that. We give away the uh… we visited one
of the homes I was in and ummm Tim Village. We've been there,
I don't know how many times in the past couple of years. Christmas
time ..umm we give away stuff to the kids, donating computers.
Stuff like that. Harlem hospital, Christmas. There's a lot of
stuff. Wherever there's a need, you know. Whatever's brought to
my attention, we knock it out. And it helps.
I just want to jump out the album, and talk about… Can you
tell us what guests are on the album.
DMX- We have…
Cam is on there. Ummm… Chingy's on there. B.S. is on there.
Drag is on there. Who else is on there?
Styles P. I heard you did a track with 50 Cent?
I did the track. I did do the track. You know what I'm saying.
But umm… I don't know if it's gone be on the album.
a lot of talk of you moving into the ministry. Do you have a course
of action planned out?
DMX- No, I
have… actually the only thing I have lined up is the first
step. And that's… you go somewhere quite for a couple of
months and just, you know, read my bible. And I think in doing
that, or while I'm doing that, it will come to me how its supposed
Theda- I don't
know if you ever have the chance to read you fan mail on your
quite a few fans that have made some suggestions on how you can
go about that. You might want to ask Andrew to print that out
for you. A couple of your fans that emailed questions to me to
ask you today. They want to know, "Why is this your last
I'm sick of the rap game. I'm sick of this fucking industry, you
know what I'm saying. Its run by the devil and 99% of everybody
you deal with is a snake. It gets tired after a while, you know
what I'm saying. And I know the lord has a calling on my life,
you know what I'm saying. I'm not going to do both.
you could control your output and put your own music out, is that
something you would be willing to do. People are mourning the
loss of DMX. Just be aware, your fans. There would be other ways
that you can share what you have to give them. Have you considered
DMX- Yea but
I'm not talking to him. You know what I mean. I'm not talking
final thoughts you want to share.
thought…. ummm this is it. It's the end of Dog world. When
you fight your dog in the ring, each time he wins, he becomes
a champ. One time champ, two time champ, three time champ. I'm
a four time champ right now. When he gets five wins in the ring,
under his belt, he becomes a Grand Champ. That's why its called
Grand Champ. Because this is going to be my fifth professional
win. For me, I've done pretty much everything there was to be
done with this. Its going somewhere… I'm not really downward.
Feel me. You know. To my fans, its not like I'm a disappear off
the face of the earth. If you fuck wit me yo, fuck wit me for
real. Walk with me.
you Patti very much for everything.
Die Alone: An Interview with DMX
Alone is a pivotal film for DMX because he establishes himself
as an actor. As a fan of Donald Goines' hardcore street novels,
DMX was honored to have the opportunity to play the most mythical
kingpin character of King David. He was so drawn to the project
that he also came onboard as a producer. "Never Die Alone"
is not your typical rapper-in-a-movie movie, and DMX is not your
typical rapper. We sat down at the W Hotel in Los Angeles to discuss
his latest role...
themes of redemption and living a life of crime show up often
in your music and they are certainly grand themes in Never Die
Alone. How did you merge these themes into your acting?
DMX: I had
actual events and issues to draw from. I think that is the theme
of my life, you know, right/wrong, good/bad, heaven/hell. I think
you have to know both in order to honestly choose one. So, I'm
familiar with both sides of the fence.
And how did
you apply those real life events to the role of King David?
was the character be a grimy nigga' for a minute, then fuck around
and get a conscience.
you to this film and the role of King David?
read every single one of Donald Goine's books. So as soon as I
heard that there was an opportunity for one of his novels to be
turned into a movie, I jumped at the opportunity.
How did you
discover Goines and how did you apply what you read?
DMX: I was
locked up when I first heard of Goines and read his novels. It
was like, here were a set of novels that didn't always have a
happy ending. There were a lot of situations that I could relate
to and a lot of the characters, I knew.
This is your
fifth film; can you talk about how this character differs from
in my last three movies, all with Warner Brothers, I was kind
of the same person the black guy doing karate, lot of money and
that's all right for one or two movies, but there's not much realism
in that character. With this character (King David), I don't walk
off into the sunset. Reality hits despite the fact that Kind David
has come to terms with the things that he's done, he still gets
what he deserves.
Were you or
are you feeling pigeon holed by that "black guy doing karate"
role? And what would your ideal role be?
There are a lot of roles that I'd like to play. Giving you an
idea of the character would be somewhat giving away the story
and these are things that are on the table right now. But more
realistic movies with good stories. I think that's very important.
Is there any
film that you'd like to remake if you could?
DMX: Not to
take anything away from Samuel Jackson, I think he's a great actor,
I'd love to work with him, but I would have loved to have done
Is there a
message in Never Die Alone and if so, what is it?
DMX: Do dirt:
get dirt. King David was a ruthless bastard. I didn't like him
as a character, but I'm glad I was able to play him.
What was it
like working with Ernest Dickerson?
DMX: The energy
level was intense because we had a short time to shoot it. There
wasn't much time for error. We did a lot of shots in one or two
takes, but that's all due to the fact that we had a great cast,
a great crew, we all got along, everyone worked with each other
and that made for a great product.
With the pressure
of shooting a scene in one or two takes, did you feel comfortable
as an actor with that?
I actually became the character for the duration of the movie,
on and off set. I try to stay not all the way in where I expect
someone to call me King or something, but I might take the walk
home, or the way the character speaks I might take that home or
the body language.
that you had to slow down your speaking voice for the role, what
else did you have to do?
DMX: I did
a couple of things. For one, I had to learn how to walk comfortably
in a suit because I don't wear suits at all, so that was one of
the hardest things, not just walk in it, but walk like I like
to wear suits. The talk, I usually talk kind of fast, I didn't
think that King David was as amped as I am. He doesn't have as
much energy as I do, so I had to play him down and get on some
ole grandfather shit, old man talkin' shit to a younger person
"what's wrong wicha' boy?" It's almost a Southern type
of thing,but it wasn't that hard.
You're a producer
on NDA, what was that like?
DMX: I had
to attend a lot of meetings. I didn't really enjoy that part of
it, but I did it. I was in on the casting and everything.
Some may look
at you as one-sided, but you are an actor, a rapper and now, a
movie producer. Your wife is a co-producer and your son is in
the movie as an actor. Can you talk about DMX, the family man?
when I'm at home I don't discuss business. I don't talk about
business. I don't answer the phone. It's just me, my wife, my
children, my dogs and that's my world. I'm a totally different
person at home than when I'm working.
your film production company, Bloodlines?
is our first project, I'm glad it went as well as it did stayed
in the budget, it looks great. And my next 3 or 4 projects will
be under Bloodline as well.
So will you
only do movies that are produced by your company, Bloodlines?
DMX: No, I
wouldn't say that, but now that's what I'm focusing on.
So what are
some of the differences between working in the music industry
versus working in the film industry?
DMX: The difference
is the money, there's a big difference.
DMX: In movies.
In music, the highest paid artist gets 18 cents off the dollar
and the record company still owns the finished product. It's robbery,
straight robbery. They give you nothing, everything is an advance,
but they'll offer it to you. "Hey we were looking at the
new Range Rover and thought it'd be a great idea if we got it
for you." And you're like "great, thank you," And
they get it for you and you look on your P & L report (profit
and loss report) and you see "Range Rover - $80,000"
and you end up thanking yourself. It's robbery and I can't be
a part of it anymore. I feel like I'm being disrespected. You
do so much for the record label, you make so much money for them
and then, at the end of the day, you're nothing but a number and
if you don't cooperate, then they play games and say "well,
okay, we'll not promote you as much as we normally have and see
what happens then". They want to keep you hungry; keep you
wanting that advance.
So how has
this film career affected your relationship with your record label?
DMX: The first
time they heard I was doing a movie, they were upset. They were
like "he can't do a movie, he has to go over here and do
this!" I was like "What the fuck you mean I can't do
a movie? You stick with the music, mind your fucking business,
I'm going over here and I'm going to do this movie!"
Have you ever
thought of releasing your own music like over the internet or
I've actually started a union to protect the rights of the artists.
We have no one to look out for our rights. We have a few in terms
of collecting our money, but what about what's right in a contract.
A standard contract is for 5-7 years, 5-7 albums. How the fuck
do you call me a risk, yet you hold me down for 5-7 years? And
the average expectancy of any artist is three years. So you're
already holding me for longer than you think I'm gonna last. There
is no risk factor. They have a lot of artists out there that are
straight garbage and they play them so fucking much that after
a while you find yourself singing their shit. They control the
market. They got BET and MTV in their back fucking pocket, they
do favors for each other. All the radio stations are bought and
paid for. It's not even about talent any more, it's about who
they like, who's their guy, who's their buddy. And I'm nobody's
fucking buddy. Fuck that. I'm not cooperating.
So your recording
career is over?
DMX: Yes it
gonna record anymore?
DMX: I refuse
to give another dime to that record label, to Def Jam. I gave
them their best year. I made 144 million dollars for them in one
year and guess how much they gave me?
you go! They didn't give me shit! What they did was they loaned
me $3 mil towards my next album. So as soon as they give you that
money, you already owe them 2 more albums. They don't give you
anything. They advance you, or give you something and have you
pay for it later.
So you don't
find this sort of problem in the film industry?
not that problem.
And as a producer,
you're going to own this movie?
So when does
your contract with Def Jam expire?
DMX: 2 years.
You have developed
quite a fan base and you seem to be very gracious and receptive
to them. How difficult is dealing with the fans for you?
People don't understand that I am a person, I might not be having
a particularly good day and they'll walk up and just ask me for
shit without saying hello. Don't ask me for shit until you've
spoken to me first! I get this all the time "I want a hug."
":I want a picture."
Have you ever
had a moment where you lost it with a fan?
DMX: It makes
me look bad either way, whether I'm right or wrong. I'm yelling,
kids are around but I was in the mall one time, walking around,
minding my business. I had just gotten my food and there's about
10 or 15 of us sitting down at the table. So this girl walks up
and starts waving her hands in the air and yells, "Oh, since
you so big time, Mr. Celebrity, I guess you paying for my lunch!"
She yells it out, crazy loud. And keeps going on "You makin'
all this money, I guess you paying for my lunch!" I'm like
"Yo girlfriend, you don't even know me to be talking to me
like that! Ain't nobody said to come to the food court without
no money!" That was one time that just got to me.
When did you
know that you had something special, such a unique voice?
funny you ask, because I listened to a tape of myself at 16 and
my voice sounded nothing like this. I always knew that I was different;
I knew I wasn't like a lot of the other kids. I knew I was smart,
I knew I was bright.
Donald Goine's books would you like to produce?
doing another one, Daddy Cool.
Are you going
to play Daddy Cool?
DMX: I don't
know. I'm not going to star in every one of my movies. But what
I will bring to this film industry is the same thing that I brought
to the music industry when I came into it realism. Uncompromised,
unconditional dog love. Not love for everybody, but we have a
click, we're tight and we're gonna bring official shit to the
table. No animated bullshit - the truth is undeniable.
What do you
think about the whole Janet Jackson thing? In your opinion, has
she been treated fairly?
DMX: I think
it's been blown a little bit out of proportion. And you know what,
I gotta say this Michael Jackson will always be the King of Pop.
Always. And I personally don't think he committed any crimes as
far as touching kids. You don't wake up one day and start touching
kids. And if it was happening for a while, why is it just coming
Do you admire
him for standing up to Sony?
I admire anyone who stands up to their record label.
interviews to DMX