With five consecutive #1 albums, over 75 million records sold worldwide and a legitimate Hollywood movie career, DMX is one of the most successful emcees in history. Tragically, his drug addiction derailed it all. Thank you to Russell Simmons for providing insight into X’s impact and what he brought to Def Jam Recordings. More than just DMX, this week’s Breakdown opens a conversation on mental illness. Legendary music manager, Sophia Chang touched on the topic of mental illness during her recent speech at MIT. A portion of her commentary is included in this week’s episode as well. Thank you for highlighting this topic, Soph.

According to drugabuse.gov, drug addiction is considered mental illness because “addiction changes the brain in fundamental ways, disturbing a person’s normal hierarchy of needs and desires and substituting new priorities connected with procuring and using the drug. The resulting compulsive behaviors that override the ability to control impulses despite the consequences are similar to hallmarks of other mental illnesses.”

DMX was a certified star with a legitimate Hollywood career. Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle To The Grave. Reportedly he was making $10 million per film.