Belly: Remembering DMX’s classic breakout performance

Detail of the DMX mural at the Calcagno Homes on School Street in Yonkers, July 13, 2021. The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers commissioned Yonkers Arts to restore a mural at the site. After the April 9 death of Earl Simmons (DMX), who lived part of his youth at the Calcagno Homes, residents asked that the mural restoration include a memorial to DMX.Dmx Mural School Street
Detail of the DMX mural at the Calcagno Homes on School Street in Yonkers, July 13, 2021. The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers commissioned Yonkers Arts to restore a mural at the site. After the April 9 death of Earl Simmons (DMX), who lived part of his youth at the Calcagno Homes, residents asked that the mural restoration include a memorial to DMX.Dmx Mural School Street /
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(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation)
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation) /

The depth DMX’s performance

When Dwayne Johnson got an opportunity to take the charisma he displayed as a professional wrestler and turn it into an acting career, he was forced to start with a non-speaking role. While his monologues as “The Rock” in the WWE garnered him the attention of Hollywood, directors weren’t quite ready to see if his quick wit before a wrestling match translated onto the big screen. He was forced to portray The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns before later being given the chance to put his true acting skills to work.

Fortunately, for DMX, this was not the case when he made his acting debut in 1998. Not only does his character, Buns, have plenty of speaking lines, he is the central figure of the story. Buns has been running from the law his whole life but he is not subject to the poverty that some life-long criminals are forced to endure.

He has become successful in well planned heists and expansive drug distribution. Buns enjoys a life of luxury, complete with a nice house in the suburbs, expensive cars, and a beautiful girlfriend.

Eventually, his life of crime catches up to him. He finds himself on the run, a fugitive of justice. While having to abandon his nice house and cars reveals to him who his true friends are, the more important lessons are the ones that come from introspection.

Through his trials and tribulations, he comes to a realization he would’ve considered impossible just a few months ago: he no longer wants to be a criminal, he’s ready to walk away from that life altogether. Requiring a first time actor to convey the feelings and emotions that go into portraying such a complex character is a big ask. DMX pulls it off with flair and grace. It is truly an amazing performance.