Hip-hop icon DMX’s own lyrics may have caught up with him yesterday when he was arrested on suspicion of tax evasion.
The rapper, 46, pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court in New York to 14 charges related to tax fraud. He was to be released after posting $500,000 bond.
“It’s allowed me to not be scared of the situation and face it head-on, you know what I’m saying?” the multi-platinum hip-hop artist, whose real name is Earl Simmons, told reporters outside the courthouse. “My life is in God’s hands.”
In 2003, DMX penned the second verse of his chart-topping single, “X Gon’ Give It to Ya,” with a gripe about those who tried to bum off his success.
“Every time I turn around, cats got they hands out wanting something from me,” he rapped. “I ain’t got it, so you can’t get it.”
The track’s abidingly catchy lyrics ostensibly referred to X’s scrappy ascendance to rap stardom. Still, a pair of federal prosecutors from New York think they make for a pretty ironic double entendre: While DMX raked in millions from the song’s success, he neglected to give any of the money to the IRS, they said in a 14-count tax fraud indictment.
“X Gon’ Give It to Ya” was specifically called out by Joon H. Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for New York who will preside over the case, in a statement about the indictment.
Per Kim, the rapper “went out of his way” to evade his tax obligations and attempted to conceal hefty portions of his income through an elaborate (and enduring — he’s supposedly been at it for years) smoke-and-mirrors act that included avoiding personal bank accounts, opening accounts under false identities and paying for personal expenses exclusively in cash.
DMX managed to skirt some $1.7 million in federal tax obligations, the prosecution said.
In addition to tax evasion, he faces charges of failing to file a tax return and corruptly trying to obstruct and impede the due administration of IRS laws.
The indictment indicates DMX was earning very good money in the 2000’s, after a string of hit records. Prosecutors say his 2011 and 2012 income was listed as “unknown,” but he reportedly made $353k in 2011 and $542k in 2012.