HBO has released a new trailer for the forthcoming documentary, “DMX: Don’t Try to Understand,” focusing on a year in the life of the late rapper. The doc, which was directed by Christopher Frierson and executive produced by The Ringer’s Bill Simmons (HBO’s “Andre The Giant,” “Showbiz Kids”), follows Earl “DMX” Simmons as he is released from prison in early 2019 and attempts to rebuild his career in the music industry and reconnect with family and fans.
The doc debuts on HBO/HBO Max on Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
“Unfolding in cinéma vérité style and with unfettered access, the film bears witness to a man searching for reinvention and redemption, striving to stay true to himself while reestablishing his roles as a father, an artist, and an icon,” the announcement reads.
DMX, who died in April at the age of 50 after suffering a drug-related heart attack, was an enormously successful but troubled artist who struggled to rise above his rough upbringing. The gruff-voiced New York rapper first emerged in the late 1990s, with two multiplatinum albums, his debut “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” and “… And Then There Was X,” both of which went to No. 1. He released seven studio albums and appeared in several films, including “Belly” and “Romeo Must Die,” but his life and career were dogged by substance abuse and run-ins with the law that saw him serving time in prison.
Born in Mount Vernon, New York, just north of New York City, on Dec. 18, 1970 to teenaged parents. Raised by his mother as a Jehovah’s Witness, he had an abusive childhood and suffered from asthma and other ailments. He spent a period at a boys’ home, which is where he began rapping and writing music; an Oberheim DMX drum machine at the home was said to be the source of his rapper name. After spending time in jail as a teen — which is where he met early collaborator, rapper K-Solo — he signed with the Columbia-affiliated Ruff House label in 1992 (home to Cypress Hill, the Fugees, and others) and began releasing singles, without success.
Yet he burst onto the national scene with the February 1998 release of “Get at Me Dog,” which was released on Ruff Ryders, his management’s label through Def Jam. It was followed by “”Ruff Ryders Anthem” and his debut album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 — a rare feat for a new artists during the CD age — and went on to sell more than 5 million copies.