Hip-hop icon DMX blared one of his songs for a federal judge Wednesday — before being sentenced to a year in the slammer for evading $1.7 million in taxes.
The 47-year-old rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, teared up as his lawyers played his 1998 track “Slippin,’” which talks about his “drama with my Mama” and overall feelings of helplessness.
And the beats may have moved something inside Manhattan federal Judge Jed Rakoff, who rejected the government’s request for five years in federal lockup, calling Simmons “a good man” who is “his own worst enemy.”
But the judge also said the rapper’s fraud was a “brazen and blatant” crime that could not go unpunished, and ordered Simmons to pay $2.3 million in restitution.
The father of 15 cried through the sentencing, which detailed his abusive childhood, including beatings and abandonment by his mother — and sobbed while asking for leniency so he could spend more time with his 18-month-old son, who has a medical condition that has already required two operations.
“I was in a cloud. I was in a cloud,” Simmons told the judge about his past mistakes, which included drug use. “I wasn’t thinking straight.”
Simmons apologized for his tax fraud, saying he didn’t realize at the time “how serious it was.”
“I didn’t believe that s–t stank,” he told Judge Rakoff.
But he also blasted the feds for exaggerating his tax evasion to make him look “like a criminal in a comic book.”
Prosecutors said the rapper went out of his way to avoid paying the tax man for years, including siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars in music royalties into the bank accounts of his managers, who then gave him cash to pay for his personal expenses.
“This is not a lapse in judgment. This is not a 1-year-old thing,” prosecutor Richard Cooper said.
Simmons has been in federal prison since January after violating his bail by failing a drug test, testing positive for cocaine and opioids.