Jailed rapper DMX sues for stolen royalties

Rapper DMX says he’s been ripped off for years by a company hired to collect his song royalties, but he’s been behind bars so much that he only recently realised the problem.

The platinum-selling but troubled hip-hop artiste — who’s currently in an Arizona jail — said in a lawsuit filed Monday that Rich Kid Entertainment Inc and related companies paid him nothing while collecting royalties on some of his most popular work. The company also made deals letting record labels reproduce his work without telling him, the lawsuit claims.

dmxNo telephone number could be found for Englewood, New Jersey-based Rich Kid. Its president didn’t immediately respond to a fax sent to a possible number for him.

DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, scored such hits as Get At Me Dog and Party Up in the 1990s. He also appeared in films including 2000’s Romeo Must Die and 2003’s Cradle 2 the Grave.

But the 39-year-old rapper has repeatedly been arrested and jailed during the last decade. He’s currently serving a six-month term in a Phoenix jail for violating probation by failing a drug test, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

He was jailed there for nearly three months last year on animal cruelty, theft and drug-possession charges. Some stemmed from an August 2007 raid in which authorities found three dead dogs, guns, ammunition and drug paraphernalia at his suburban home.

His other run-ins with the law include pleading guilty in 2008 to attempted cocaine and marijuana possession in Miami, being arrested and released in London in 2006 after police said he refused to put on a seat belt and became abusive on an airplane, and pleading guilty in a 2004 incident in which he posed as an undercover federal agent and crashed his sport-utility vehicle through a security gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“From 2000 through 2008, (DMX) was in and out of jail and changed representatives numerous times. These were some of the factors contributing to any delay” in bringing the case, the lawsuit notes.

It says Rich Kid has stolen from him for nearly a decade, but he didn’t know that until last year.