Rapper plays judge his hit track during tax fraud trial
Rapper DMX managed to avoid the maximum jail term for a $1.7m (£1.2m) tax evasion offence after a judge was persuaded to listen to one of his hit tracks to illustrate how tough his life had been.
The 47-year-old – real name Earl Simmons – managed to convince Judge Jed Rakoff to listen to Slippin’ before deciding how to sentence him for tax fraud.
DMX and some of his supporters nodded to the beat of the song as it played in the packed courtroom, with lyrics including: “To live is to suffer, but to survive, well, that’s to find meaning in the suffering.”
The musical interlude, coupled with the US rapper’s admission of guilt that he “wasn’t following the rules” by not paying his taxes, appeared to have something of a worthwhile outcome.
Prosecutors had been pushing for a five-year prison sentence, but Judge Rakoff settled on one year for someone he said was a “good man” who had been “his own worst enemy”.
Manhattan Federal Court had heard how DMX – whose 2003 song ,X Gon’ Give It to Ya, was featured heavily in the hit Marvel film Deadpool in 2016 – had endured an abusive childhood and been abandoned by his mother at a young age.
He had also battled a drug habit.
The father-of-15 sobbed in the dock as he asked for leniency so he could spend more time with his 18-month-old son, who has a medical condition that has already required two operations.
His lawyer, Murray Richman, wanted the “model prisoner” to be free so he could support his children and pay back the tax money he had avoided, but Judge Rakoff said his “brazen and blatant” crime could not go unpunished.
Although he said he “did not buy” the rapper’s claim that he did not realise how serious his offence was, he criticised prosecutors for trying to make him appear like a “villain in a comic book”.
In addition to the one-year jail term, he ordered DMX to pay $2.3m (£1.6m) to make up for the tax evasion.