DMX, who was one of the most successful rappers of the late 1990s with five US No 1 albums, has been jailed for a year for tax evasion.
Federal prosecutors said the rapper, real name Earl Simmons, failed to pay tax on income earned from 2002 to 2005, and from 2010 to 2015. On top of the prison sentence, Simmons must pay $2.29m back to the US government.
Simmons had pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion but disputed the prosecution’s claim that he deliberately avoided tax by living a “cash lifestyle”, and by concealing his wealth during a bankruptcy hearing.
He said he did not steal the money “like a criminal in a comic book”, and acknowledged that the tax should be paid.
The sentence was a long way below the five years recommended by the prosecution. Sentencing judge Jed Rakoff acknowledged Simmons was “a good man, a very far from perfect man”, but said he had committed a “brazen and blatant” crime.
It will not be Simmons’ first spell in jail. He spent six months in prison in 2015 for failing to pay $400,000 in child support, and has had numerous shorter periods for offences ranging from drug possession to dangerous driving, and various parole violations. He has struggled with mental health, and a previous sentencing judge suggested he might have an undiagnosed bipolar disorder.
Between 1998 and 2003, Simmons ranked as one of the biggest-selling rappers in the US, thanks to hits such as Party Up, What’s My Name and X Gon’ Give It to Ya – the last of which also reached the UK Top 10.