Six months in jail is a long time. Especially when you’re an artist facing a chasm of irrelevance. However, DMX has spent the last several years desperately hanging above that bottomless hole. It’s already been a turbulent year for the former Ruff Ryder that began in early January with Redemption Of The Beast, an album shrouded by a questionable release. A month before, his guest cameo on Chris Rock vehicle Top Five was seen as a glimmer of light in a dark tunnel. Fast forward to June, Mr. Earl Simmons is arrested for over $400,000 worth of unpaid child support, a warrant for bail jumping and a robbery complaint. Now, the Grand Champ will spend half-a-year behind bars. At this point, does it make any sense to hold out for his highly anticipated album with Swizz Beatz? Well, only if holding one’s breath is the best way for a slow, painful death.

At this point DMX is a lost soul. He’s the uncle that had a more promising future than your parents but wound up alone and an alcoholic. Then again, they always gave the best drunk advice and their life turned into a lesson of things to avoid. From X’s career, there are numerous lessons one can learn. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • All drugs except weed lead to a downward spiral. There’s a real reason why everyone in the vein of Devin Tha Dude, Snoop Dogg, Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa seem cool as shit even in the midst of shenanigans.
  • Never attempt to impersonate FBI personnel. Those lacking the legal shelter DMX had can get a maximum of three years, long probation and a hefty fine.
  • Internal holy wars makes atheism sound totally acceptable as Jesus nor Satan can help Dark Man X. Dude mentioned several conversations with Satan and prays to that Lord and Saviour dude on every album. Hell, Iyanla couldn’t even fix his life.
  • Child support for twelve children can be very costly, might want slow down on the unnecessary expenditures ranging from value depreciating vehicles to costly side-pieces.
  • Avoid getting arrested in Arizona; it’s a historically racist state that makes prisoners wear pink panties.
  • Never let any of the above affect the music because when all said and done, this is where all one’s fame and fortune is attained.

The year was 1998 when DMX managed to create two platinum-selling albums with It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood. We all fell into the unhinged cadence of the newly crowned Yonkers legend. The amount of pain X was able to spill on wax was uncomfortable but attractive. The guy had an amazing vision for mood, which captivated you both thematically and sonically. That same recklessness may be his own undoing. Everyone watched as a trainwreck began to happen; flames and carnage in plain view. Meanwhile, many forget that there are people potentially about to take their last breath. Easily, there’s enough blame to go around. Friends, family, the industry, producers, fans, haters and even X himself. In a year full of pretty amazing music documentaries ranging from Amy to Cobain: Montage Of Heck, hopefully this serves a wake-up call for aspiring emcees and those on the cusp of stardom.

Can DMX be saved before it’s too late? Anything is possible. Music’s greatest comeback stories always involve those who are able to lift themselves out of certain doom. Drugs and rock and roll are damn near synonymous with each other. Most artists either casually indulge or others overuse and clock out mentally too soon. There’s some hope. Eminem, Lil Wayne and even T.I. successfully conquered their battles with drugs; making their way out. Then again, for every triumphant outcome, a tragic ending becomes the alternative. ODB, Chris Kelly of Kriss Kross and others met their ends. The best idea for the future, ensuring artists are held accountable before things get out of hand.