There are recurring themes in your music: redemption and living
without morality. How does that apply to this film and your acting
as opposed to music?
DMX: I had
actual events and issues to draw from. I think that is the theme
of my life. 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. That was the character. All right,
be a grimy nigga for a minute, then f*** around and get a conscience.
Q: How do
you apply that to your career?
I'm not a grimy person, so it doesn't really apply. I already
got past that point. Do dirt, get dirt. So I treat people with
the same respect that I want. I don't walk around big headed.
I'm not a superstar. I'm a man like you're a man. We're all people.
It's a mutual respect. I'm not going to disrespect you, don't
disrespect me. I say what's up, I'm easygoing, but if you violate,
Q: What attracted
you to this film and the role of King David?
read every one of Donald Goines' books. So as soon as I heard
there was an opportunity for one of his novels to be turned into
a movie, I jumped at the opportunity.
Q: Why King
who else would I choose in that movie? It was brought to me. Someone
brought it to me and I thought yeah, I'm with it. I knew I could
do the King thing.
Q: Is this
character different than the previous ones you've played?
Well, my last three movies, all with Warner Brothers, I was kind
of the same person. Black guy doing karate, lotta money. It's
all right for one or two movies, but there's not much realism
in that character. This is a chance, this character, I don't want
to walk off in the sunset with the girl and everything is right.
Reality hits. Despite the fact that I'm coming to terms with the
wrongs that I've done, I still get what I deserve.
Q: Is there
a message in the movie?
DMX: The message
is you do dirt, you get dirt. You get what you get.
the message in terms of the characters of the girls?
he didn't get it like they got it. He'd give them heroine, tell
them it's coke, just to get them strung out. This is a ruthless
bastard. I didn't like him as a character, because of some of
the things he did, but I'm glad I was able to play him well enough
to where it's believable.
-© Fox Searchlight
Preston and DMX in Never Die Alone
Q: How do you expect women to respond to it?
DMX: To the
movie? I suppose somebody will be upset. Somebody's upset with
every movie. But there's a few sex scenes in there, so I don't
think women will be too upset.
Q: How did
you discover Goines and how did you apply what you read?
DMX: I was
locked up for a term when I read the first book of his. It was
like here were a set of novels that didn't always have a happy
ending. There were a lot of things that I could relate to. A lot
of the characters I knew.
Q: What did
you find out about working with Ernest Dickerson and being a producer,
with little rehearsal time?
DMX: No rehearsal
Q: Was that
different from Warner Brothers?
it was a much smaller budget. The energy level was more intense
because it was like we have this amount of time to shoot it. There
wasn't much time for error. We had a lot of shots in like one
or two takes. That's all due to the fact that we had a great cast,
great crew. We all got along and would work with each other. That
made for a great product.
Q: What kind
of producer are you?
DMX: A new
Q: What does
it mean for you?
I have to attend a lot of meetings. Have to be there for a lot
of the talking about. I didn't really enjoy that part of it, but
I did it. I was in on the casting, everything.
Q: What other
roles do you want to play besides the rich black guy?
a lot of roles I'd love 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. It's not always going to be about
that. This is more realistic movies with good stories. I think
that's very important.
Q: Can you
talk about DMX the family man and Bloodline films?
I'm at home, I don't discuss business. I don't talk business.
I don't answer the phone. It's just me, my wife, my children,
my dogs. That's my world. We go out, take a ride in one of the
low riders or something. Totally different person than when I'm
working. But the work comes to some headaches.
Q: You don't
bring it home?
Q: And Bloodline
films, this is our first project... And ContentFilm. I'm glad
it went as successful as it did, staying within budget, knocking
out what we had to knock out. The color looks great. I have about
my next I think maybe three or four projects, will be under Bloodline
films as well.
Q: You won't
do a movie unless you produce it?
DMX: No, I
wouldn't say that. But right now, that's what I'm focusing on
because I have a lot of good stories.
Q: Are you
comfortable under the pressure of one or two takes?
I actually become the character for the duration of the movie,
on and off set. I try to stay not all the way in where I expect
somebody to call me King or something, but I might take the walk
home, or the way the character talks, I might take that home,
the body language.
Q: Can you
talk about the character's talk?
DMX: I did
a couple of things. For one, I had to learn how to walk comfortably
in a suit, because I don't like suits at all. So that was one
of the hardest things. Not just walking, but walk like I like
to wear suits. The talk, because I usually talk kind of fast.
I didn't think King David is as amped as I am. I don't think he
has as much energy as I do, so I had to slow the whole thing down
and just some old grandfather s**t, old man talking s**t to the
younger person. 'What's wrong with you, boy?' Almost a Southern
type of thing. But it wasn't that hard.
Q: Are you
DMX: In my
choices? I think I make pretty good choices. I think there's nothing
to be sorry about. My choices, I mean, I'm pretty much able to
know what the outcome of every decision I make will be, so everything
I ask for, I'll get. Even if it's not the right choice, I don't
think I'd be apologetic because I knew what it was going to be
before I made that decision.
Q: How is
your artistic approach different from music to film?
getting exacerbated.] They're different because they're art forms
in which I get to express and act out something. With the music
it's verbally, of course, with the films it's physically. And
difference? The money. Big difference.
Q: Which is
DMX: In movies.
In music, the highest paid artists get 18 cents off of a dollar
and the record company still owns their product even though they
paid for it. It's like straight 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. We thought
it'd be a great idea if we got it for you.' And they'll get it
for you, then you look on your PNL report, you've got $80,000.
You end up thanking yourself. And they still advance you the money.
They advance you the money, okay, that's cool. You give me the
money, I make the music. After I pay you back the money, I should
own the music, because that was the money, you put up the money.
They still own it, they always own it and they ask for maybe 27
songs for each album, yet they only use about 16. And the rest
they give away to soundtracks. It's robbery. I can't be a part
of it anymore. I feel like I'm being disrespected...
Q: How close
was Grand Champ recorded to this film?
DMX: You know,
I really don't remember. Grand Champ took me the longest to record.
I recorded in like five different states for this album. I went
and did a few songs here, went and did a few songs here, a few
songs there. That's just because of the bitter taste I had for
the industry and what they really think about you. It's like you
do so much for them, you make so much money for them, at the end
of the day, you're nothing but a number. And if you don't cooperate
with what they want, then they play the little game of okay, well,
we'll not promote you as much as we normally have and see what
happens there. They want to keep you hungry, keep you wanting
that advance. The first time they heard I was doing a movie, they
said, "No, no, he can't do a movie. He has to go over there
and make–" What do you mean I can't do a movie? You
stick with the music, mind your f***ing business. I'm going over
here and I'm going to do this movie.
Q: Did you
track down your grandfather?
tracked him down, found out where he was at. I picked a time where
I wasn't going to be too far out of it. I think I did a show in
Atlanta; I had something going on in Atlanta. We took two stretch
limos, rode to the town and I met him for the first time. It was
cool. I didn't really know my father too much, so it's like you
want to know the things about you that only your father or your
grandfather could tell you. He don't even gotta tell you. You
can just look at them and see why you do certain things. Like
oh s**t, I do that too. It's like little things. You wonder why
you do it, then you see them and it's like okay, then you also
know how you're going to look when you get that age.
Q: Did he
It's like one of those really, really small towns. Half the roads
were dirt roads. We had to park in the middle of the street. There
was no parking anywhere. We stayed in the middle of the street.
Q: What town?
Q: How difficult
is it to be gracious with fans?
Extremely, extremely, extremely because people don't understand
that I am a person and I might not be having a particularly good
day. I might have just gotten a phone call, some bad news, but
they'll walk up and, this really f***s with me, when people just,
like, ask me for s**t without saying hello. Say, 'Yo, what's up,
how you doing? Dog, yo, hey.' Don't ask me for s**t until you've
spoken to me first. Because I get this so much: 'I want a hug.
I want a picture.' It's like, 'Hey, how you doing?'
Q: Have you
ever given someone an attitude?
Q: What happened?
DMX: It makes
me look bad either way, whether I'm right or wrong. It makes me
look bad because I'm yelling and sometimes there's kids, though.
They wonder why am I mad. That's not a side of me that they normally
see. I was at a mall one time, minding my business. I had just
gotten my food, about 10 of us, 15 of us, we were sitting down
at the table. So this girl walks over and she's waving the tray
there [saying] 'Oh, so you some big celebrity, so I guess you
payin' for my lunch.' Like yells it out like crazy loud. I'm like,
'Girl, what the f*** are you talking about?' [She says] 'You're
making all this money. I guess you payin' for...' Just going on
and on. I'm like, 'Yo girlfriend, you don't even f***ing know
me, you're gonna be talking like that? Pay for your own lunch.
Don't nobody turn up at the food court without no money.' That
was one time where it just got to me that time.
Q: Have you
ever thought of releasing your own music on the Internet like
I actually wanted to start a union. Protect the rights of the
artist. We have no one to look out for our rights. We have a few
people that look out for our [best interest] in terms of collecting
our money, but what about what's right in a contract. The standard
contract is five to seven years, five to seven albums. How the
f*** do you call me a risk, yet you hold me down for five to seven
years? And the average expectancy of any artist is three years.
So you're already holding me for longer than you think I'm going
to last. There is no risk factor. They got a lot of artists out
there that's like straight garbage, and they play them so f***ing
much that after a while, you find yourself singing their s**t.
They control the market. They've got BET and MTV in their back
f***ing pocket. They do favors for each other. All the radio stations
are bought and paid for. It's like, 'Play this, play this, play
this.' It all comes from the heads of the record companies. It's
not even about talent anymore. It's about who they like, who's
their guy, who's their buddy? I'm nobody's f***ing buddy. F***
that. I'm not cooperating. If you don't like it, f*** it.
Q: Is your
music career over?
Q: You won't
do it 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 for them in one year.
144 million dollars in one year. Guess how much they gave me?
Q: $3 mil?
Q: $3 thou?
you go. They didn't give me s**t. What they did was they loaned
me three towards my next album. It was like soon as they give
you that money, you already owe them two more albums. They don't
give you anything. They advance you or they'll give you something
and have you pay for it later.
Q: Is there
that problem in the film industry?
DMX: No. Not
Q: As a producer,
you own this movie?
Q: What about
recording for soundtracks?
because I'm signed to Def Jam, of course they're not going to
allow me to sing. But this is some s**t. How the f*** do you tell
me I can't sing another song for somebody else? That's why we
need the union, for s**t like this. I'm an artist, I was an artist
before I met y'all, I'm going to be after I leave y'all. How could
you tell me that I can't put a song somewhere else?
Q: When does
your contract expire?
DMX: Two years,
something like that.
Q: What did
you learn from Joel Silver about producing?
pause.] No comment.
the next Goines novel you're doing?
doing Daddy Cool.
Q: Will you
be Daddy Cool?
DMX: I don't
know. I'm not going to star in every one of my movies. But I'm
telling you [pounds fists] what I will bring to this film industry
is the same thing I brought to the record industry when I came
into it. Realism. Uncompromised, unconditional dog love. Not love
for everybody, but we gotta click, we tight, then we're going
to bring official s**t to the table. Like official no big animated
this, that and the others. The truth is undeniable. You tell somebody
the truth, it's undeniable.
Q: Why is
there a lack of realism in storytelling?
DMX: I don't
know. You'd have to talk to the people that are writing these
stories. I don't know. They're reaching right now. They're digging
up comic heroes that half the people haven't heard of. A lot of
the movies are the same thing over and over again but different
actors. It's getting kind of redundant. The movie comes out, 'Oh,
I saw that but I saw the one where Tom Hanks was in it.' It's
the same s**t.
Q: Is this
a different gangster story?
Like I said, there's no hero walking off into the sunset. And
that happens with every f***ing movie, man. It's like okay, you
go through everything, but the guy doesn't die. He might die for
three seconds and then come back to life.
Q: Do you
look at movies of the '70s?
Superfly, The Mack, all that s**t.
Q: Your favorite
DMX: My favorite
Q: How many
dogs do you have?
DMX: I got
seven dogs, but my main bitch is pregnant. It wasn't supposed
Q: What does
street cred mean anymore and when can it be artificially constructed?
DMX: It can't
be artificially constructed. The only way you can get street credibility
is just from being official nigga on the street. Not too many
of these rappers can go to the hood. Not too many of these rappers
can walk through the projects by themselves without 50 motherf***ers.
It's like yo, I'm good.
Q: Does it
mean anything in terms of creating music?
DMX: Not really.
Jackson once said rappers should stick to rapping and not act.
What are your thoughts on that?
because someone raps, doesn't mean that's all they can do. A lot
of people are multi-talented. Now, you're right. A lot of people
get roles just because they're selling a few records and they
suck. It's up to the producer to really make that decision and
not allow that to happen. Because that's what you call selling
out, when a producer puts a motherf***er because they sold a certain
amount of records in a movie knowing they suck at acting.
Q: Will you
ever change your billing from DMX?
Don't know when. I will.
Q: Tell me
He gave me these dog tags. Friend of mine from Chicago. It says
DMX on the front and it has my wife and my children's names on
the back. This one says "Dogs" and it has my dogs that
died on the back. It's a very considerate gift. I mean, good friend,
man. We were working in the same studio and we just got close.
I introduced him to stuff, he showed me stuff because he was like
the head of the Latin Kings out there, but I never knew that.
He was just a guy I met. And he was cool. He had pets and I had
pets. I got him into remote control cars. S**t like that. We laughed
a lot together.
Q: How old
are your kids?
DMX: 11, 4
and 14 months. You gotta see the baby when he looks at the TV
and sees me sitting there. He goes like, 'Da da?'
Q: Are any
other artists interested in your union idea?
Q: Can you
Q: Who would
you like to star in a movie with?