MESA, AZ - Earlier this week, we sat down and talked with rapper DMX - who lives in the Valley - about his troubled past and his road to recovery.
Shortly after sitting down with Earl Simmons, it was clear the multi-platinum rapper is struggling to come to terms with his troubled past.
"I'm not the person the media portrays me to be," he told ABC15 in an exclusive interview.
In the hip hop world, DMX is an influential rap artist and one of the best-selling rappers of all time.
"There will never be another me, never," smiled DMX. "To this date I have records that have yet to be broken."
But it's the criminal records that have overshadowed DMX's chart topping success and promising acting career.
In 2007, he was indicted on felony drug possession and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges following a raid at his Cave Creek home.
"Does it bother me?" asked Simmons. "Yeah, of course it bothers me."
During the raid, a SWAT team with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office seized a dozen distressed pit bull dogs and dug up the remains of three other dogs on his property. Authorities also found marijuana and weapons in the rapper's home.
"I wasn't there, I was on tour," DMX claimed. "I had my brother watch the house while I was on tour. He was having parties at my house. I didn't know about this and one of the dogs died. It was just really messy."
DMX said he only pleaded guilty to the animal cruelty charges as part of a plea deal and appeared in a public service announcement against animal abuse.
We asked Simmons if he would you ever hurt a dog.
"No, I have a dog tattooed on my back I love dogs," he said.
We asked DMX if he had ever been involved in any dog fighting enterprise.
"No, not at all," insisted DMX. "Not at all, not at all."
The rapper has had previous run-ins with the law. In 2006, Scottsdale police cited DMX for carrying a concealed handgun outside a nightclub.
He also served 70 days in jail in 2005 for a parole violation following a 2004 incident in which he reportedly crashed his sports utility vehicle through a security gate at Kennedy International Airport.
"I know I won't be back in jail for nothing stupid," DMX professed.
His battle now is drug addiction.
"Do you want to stop?" I asked.
"Yeah," DMX said with relief. "I start my day with a prayer and ask God to guide my steps, cover me, keep me safe."
On July 19, 2011 DMX was released from the Arizona State Prison. He wasted little time getting back in the recording studio to begin working on his next album.
"Every album there's a gospel song and a prayer," DMX explained.
The rapper is working nearly eight hours a day in the studio, recording 10 songs in just two weeks.
"I can be anywhere and I write something," he said.
A lot of his material was written while he was behind bars. DMX showed me a song he wrote in pencil on folded sheets of notebook paper while serving time.
"Do you know when you're writing that it's a hit?" I asked. "Yeah, this is a hit," DMX exclaimed.
It's been five years since DMX has released an album, but plans to release his seventh one at the end of the year.
The 40-year-old rapper has admitted to suffering from bipolar disorder. He claims he doesn't really know how to separate Earl Simmons from "X."
"X, X is the bad guy," DMX argues. "I used to be really clear about who was what and what each characteristics each personality had, but at this point I'm not even sure there is a difference."
"I'm Earl when I'm with my children," DMX replied with sad emotion. "I miss my children, I miss my children, I miss my children."
Instead of drugs, DMX said music is his fix now. Each day a new beginning.
In addition to his music, DMX is interested in his own reality TV show promising to give an uncensored look at his life as an artist as well as father. The show, only in conceptual stage, would focus on the rapper's 10 children and bringing them together for the first time.
"We have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the response we've received," says publicist Domenick Nati.
"Tomorrow is going to be better. I know this, I know this, I know this," DMX believes.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Did You Hear?
More Mesa News
Rumor has it, Monsterland, the monster-movie-themed restaurant/night club in downtown Mesa, is coming back from the dead.