At the end of the 1990s, there was no rapper more popular than DMX, who rode a series of energized and earnest hits to the top of the Billboard album chart with each of his first five albums.

The life he lived — from a childhood marked by abuse to an adulthood clouded by addiction — was robust, stormy and signature. He died on Friday at 50, after suffering what his family called “a catastrophic cardiac arrest” a week earlier.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about the peaks and valleys of DMX’s career, the intense potency of his music and his religious fervor and what it was like to interview him.


Smokey Fontaine, the co-author, with DMX, of the 2002 book “E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX”; a former music editor of The Source magazine; and the current editor in chief of the Apple App Store.

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