DMX’s acting debut was perfect timing
Not since Elvis Presley made his acting debut in Love Me Tender the same year his first album was released, has a musician turned actor enjoyed the tidal wave of fame that swept over DMX in 1998. After making an appearance on LL Cool J’s anthem “4,3,2,1” in 1997, the next calendar year would belong to the new MC out of Yonkers, NY.
“It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” his major label debut, was released in May of 1998. It quickly became the number one album on virtually all of the charts. With appearances at every awards show imaginable and his contemporaries lining up to due collaboration songs, it seemed that DMX’s star could not shine any brighter.
Then, in November of that year, the movie Belly was released in theaters. His musical talent had made him one of the biggest stars in hip hop; having a starring role in one of the most anticipated films of the year made him one of the biggest names in entertainment.
Not only was DMX the most talked about new comer in music in 1998, his appearance in Belly was a strategic success because it placed him alongside several of the biggest names in hop hop during that era. Legendary rapper, Nas, was his co-star in the film. Being paired with an MC who had street credibility and a platinum album of his own only fed into DMX’s legitimacy as an urban star.
Method Man from the Wu-Tang Clan and T-boz from TLC also made significant appearances in the film. All of these factors combined to make Belly the perfect film debut for a rapper whose star was already rising.