Over the past few months, the hip hop community has mourned the loss of one of the genre’s most prolific icons, the incomparable DMX. Born as Earl Simmons, the native of Yonkers has pioneered a tremendous path at the intersection of hip-hop and culture. His art was a mixed Molotov cocktail of jagged edges and solemn insights into belief and morality. This radical duality was unprecedented in rap and served as the driving force behind his persistent style of music.
The influence of DMX is palpable in the music it leaves behind, though it often overshadows his legacy as a performer in films. His raw appeal translated well to the big screen and despite his lack of awards, many of his films are fondly remembered as entertaining crime thrillers. Not all of them have aged particularly well, but each role explores the many spectrums of his enigmatic personality.
10 Best: Romeo Must Die (2000)
Still basking in the afterglow of The matrixLarger-than-life producer Joel Silver returned the following year. back to martial arts Romeo must die with Jet Li and Aaliyah. Freely interpreted as ‘Shakespeare meets kung-fu ‘combines this modern reinterpretation of the timeless forbidden love story kinetic stunt choreography with blunt racial conflicts.
DMX portrays Silk, a respected nightclub owner in Oakland, California. His scene-consuming introduction to the opening fight scene of the film underlines Silk’s intensity with a machine gun monologue, which is spoken like a prophetic sermon. Although Silk’s strong presence is used sparingly, each of his scenes is characterized by X’s uncanny ability to arouse fear and respect in equal measure.
9 Unheard of: Lords Of The Street (2008)
He’s after blood Lords of the street, a 2008 action thriller starring Sheldon Robins and Kris Kristofferson. The film follows two police officers on the hunt for a cartel king through the dark underbelly of New Orleans. DMX stands out as the walk-through centerpiece of the film, despite its chunky narrative, cheesy dialogue, and direct-to-video release strategy.
The rapper brings to life Thorn, a soft-spoken hit man who vows to avenge his sister’s death by the Mexican cartel. Its rigid principles are reminiscent of Omar in The cable, with the habit of quoting scriptures before striking someone’s clock, as Jules did pulp Fiction. Though his role is somewhat minimal, his on-screen presence has weight like the shark Jaw-sometimes less is more.
8th Best: Exit wounds (2001)
Along with mythical action star Steven Seagal, DMX is co-headlining its biggest budget feature Exit wounds, a rousing array of gunshots and broken limbs. The spinning premise follows a bellicose detective and a powerful crime boss who team up to thwart a deadly conspiracy in the heart of Detroit’s toughest district.
With a surprisingly deep bank of co-stars like Michael Jai White, Eva Mendes, Bill Duke and Anthony Anderson, Exit wounds is a fairly formulaic crime story that lovingly captures the lighthearted entertainment of pre-9/11 action films. This offshoot noir blueprint helped cement X’s legacy as a generational archetype in the crime genre.
7th Unheard of: Fast And Fierce: Death Race (2020)
As the old saying goes, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. When it comes to imitations, nobody does it like The Asylum, a production Company that makes direct-to-video imitators of popular blockbuster franchises. Fast & Fierce: Death Race Death is their makeshift Fast & Furious Film with DMX as a villain character named Davie.
While compared to a. retains almost no redeeming properties Fast & Furious Film there is a distinct self-expression in the entire work of The Asylum. Her tongue-in-cheek commitment to off-brand entertainment is transparently shameless, which is perhaps best exemplified by her infamous cult hit Sharknado. In this respect, the weirdly angular attitude of DMX was perfect for Fast & violent‘s uncompromising nerve.
6th Best: Never Die Alone (2004)
Ernest Dickerson’s dark urban neo-noir Never die alone is a character-driven crime thriller with powder keg suspense. The narrative follows Paul (David Arquette), a writer who endeavors to recapitulate the circumstances surrounding the death of infamous drug dealer King David (DMX) after their chance encounter.
Share similarity to the epilogue of The godfather III, his central themes are meditations on loneliness, regret and the ultimate consequences of life as a villain. Although Never die alone hindered by some seriously problematic writing styles, X reaches its performative climax as the morally contradicting King David. The role evokes a deeper complexity in him that reflects the philosophical breadth of his music.
5 Unheard of: The Bleeding (2009)
The wildest acting adventure in DMX’s career shows him and his company taking on a legion of vampires in the aptly named name The bleeding. Vinnie Jones and Michael Madsen star in this straight-to-video grindhouse mashup. What it lacks in logic it more than makes up for in comical absurdity.
Brazen, belligerent and firearms, The bleeding is unrestrained like a bat from hell. It shines with high-tension energy like From dusk to dawn on bath salts, but despite the eccentricity of its general execution, its devotion to gonzo seriousness is what ultimately stands out. Despite everything, DMX’s brutal intensity feels justified by its silly premise.
4th Best: Cradle 2 The Grave (2003)
Cradle 2 The grave is among the action films known for their soundtrack rather than their overall premise. The second onscreen pairing between the rapper and martial arts sensation Jet Li follows Anthony Fait (DMX), a jewel thief who teams up with a Taiwanese intelligence agent to kill Fait’s kidnapped daughter in front of a renegade ex-agent (Mark Dacascos) rescue.
Despite some badly aged racial stereotypes, Cradle 2 The grave is an extremely fun action film that doesn’t use any brain functions to enjoy it. His iconic soundtrack with DMX-certified platinum hit “X Gon ‘Give It To Ya” sets the hymnically expansive tone while Fait speeds through Los Angeles on an ATV.
3 Unheard of: Top Five (2014)
In general fan circles, it’s not often Chris Rock’s Top five is brought up with the appreciation it rightly deserves. This star-studded comedy follows Andre Allen (Chris Rock), a struggling, funny man whose fateful interview with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to rethink his career and life choices.
Filled to the brim with illustrious cameos like Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart, Adam Sandler and Leslie Jones, Top fiveThe most surprising appearance is that DMX is playing an exaggerated version of itself. His unexpected walk-on finds Andre face-to-face with the rapper during a night in prison. His short but outrageous appearance shows a high level of self-confidence and comedic lines that no one could ever have expected from such a famous stoic figure.
2 Best: Belly (1998)
Consciously committed to Martin Scorsese’s Magnum opus Goodfellas‘Hype Williams’ crime thriller from the late 90s belly was a socially significant moment that cemented the ongoing transition between hip-hop and mainstream cultures. Starring legendary rap luminaries DMX, Nas and Method Man, the film is an impressive exploration of the moral cost of criminal pursuits.
Having previously directed only music videos, Hype Williams seemed to have a keen eye for art direction glorifying a lawless lifestyle belly‘s surface. But just like Goodfellas, its portrayal of reckoning establishes the deeper meaning of the film as a warning story. DMX’s robust portrayal of Tommy “Buns” Bundy was a standout debut, coinciding with the release of his acclaimed first album that same year.
1 Unheard of: Pimp (2018)
Pimp, Produced by Lee Daniels and starring Keke Palmer is a laborious amalgamation of social drama and blaxploitation tonalities that, despite some flawless performances, don’t quite harmonize. The dirty premise follows Wednesday (Palmer), a Bronx pimp whose money-driven lifestyle erodes when she takes on a dangerous new rival (Edi Gathegi).
The prologue of the film establishes the turbulent childhood of Wednesday. Under the guidance of her late father Midnight John (DMX), she learns the inner workings of the pimp and hooker. Through these illegal affairs, she learns to build emotional walls to conduct business. While his role is minimally used, the aura of X permeates the film through Wednesday’s inherited traits. In its own way, the film becomes a belated cathartic confrontation with the remaining influence of the deceased – for better and for worse.
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