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.

Guest:

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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