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Donald Goines’ was a drug addict and petty criminal in the 1960’s. He spent most of his life behind bars. While in prison he began writing black pulp novels, which were published at the time by Holloway House. When Goines was released from prison in 1970 he continued his grifting ways, and drug filled days, also managing to write 16 novels, one about every six months. In 1974, he was shot dead in his home in Detroit.

The film “Never Die Alone” is based on Goines book of the same name, and is a literate film noir about King David (DMX), a hard-boiled, stylish criminal who returns to his hometown seeking redemption and finding only violent death. But he did not die alone... King David’s final moments are spent with Paul (David Arquette), an aspiring journalist who knows him for just a few minutes but is changed forever by their meeting. King David – half preacher, half Satan, and all street smarts – gives to Paul an audiotape featuring the story of his exploits, leaving behind a riveting, poetic sermon on villainy and its consequences. The tapes reveal that the cycle of violence and retribution King David’s actions spawned have come back on him full circle…

Eerily similar to the character of King David is DMX in real life. Born Earl Simmons in Baltimore, in 1970, he moved to Yonkers, N.Y., shortly thereafter. Sharing a home with an abusive mother (his absentee father left the family when DMX was young) in the notorious Yonkers School Street Projects, Simmons became the classic juvenile delinquent, "the kid that other kids would get beatings for playing with," he says. Despite having five sisters, Earl says he had a very lonely childhood, a painful reality that ultimately led to an inner strength, an artistic, introspective side, and an undying bond for dogs.

After a wild incident in which he irrationally attacked his teacher in the classroom, his mother was convinced by school officials to send him to a group home at the age of 7; he ended up spending more than five years in several of them. "There's a period in your childhood when you accept whatever you're given as normal," he says. By his early teens, Earl was familiar with the jail system, thanks to an affinity for robbery. He would eventually spend seven years in prison, according to an interview with Blaze Magazine, "not counting group homes and institutions." He also developed an appetite for alcohol and drugs.

While on the street, Earl began to get interested in urban music, "I used to do the beat box...” he says, “and a friend of mine, he was the rapper and after, we'd be doing a block party or something or a house party, and he's gettin' all the attention and I'd end up with a handful of spit, you know, from doing the beats... and I was like, 'you got to be the rapper'... the rapper's the man..."

Earl began hanging around the Yonkers music scene, beginning his career as a MC who debuted with hometown friends the Lox on a DJ Clue mix-tape. In 1992, Earl was signed to Columbia Records but quickly parted ways with the label after just one record, “Born Loser”. He started performing and recording high-profile guest appearances with the hottest rap and R&B artists of the 90’s, including Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige and Marilyn Manson. It was during this time that he adopted his stage name, DMX, perhaps after a digital mixing machine he worked with at the clubs. DMX (which now stands for Dark Man X) hit the big time in early 1998, when his single "Get At Me Dog" (Ruff Ryders/Def Jam) became a club and radio smash.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 37 - September 3372
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