‘Belly’: DMX Fans Remember Iconic Film That Started His Acting Career

by Chris Haney

In the wake of rapper DMX’s tragic death at age 50, his fans continue to reminisce about his career and impact on their lives. Although most know DMX as a rapper, he made a name for himself as an actor as well, beginning with the 1998 crime drama Belly.

That same year, DMX – real name Earl Simmons – became a household name with two platinum-selling albums. His May 1998 debut It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot (4x platinum), and his sophomore album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (3x platinum) that released seven months later in December both hit No. 1 on the charts.

The rapper’s songs dominated radio airplay and his music videos featured prominently on MTV and BET. The Yonkers, New York-based artist became so famous so fast, he was even offered acting jobs. Legendary music video director Hype Williams cast DMX in his one-and-only feature film.

The rapper starred alongside iconic rapper Nas in the gritty American crime drama movie. The duo played two young New York City street criminals – Tommy “Buns” Brown (DMX) and Sincere aka Sin (Nas).

Although the film had mixed reviews, critics and fans praised Williams’ stylized visuals and cinematography. As untrained, first-time actors, DMX and Nas both garnered positive responses for their roles. A 2018 The A.V. Club article described Belly as a “far from a perfect film, but it radiates talent, both from Williams and the musicians he captured at their commercial and artistic peak.”

Since its release, Belly has become a cult classic of sorts. Even though DMX went on to star in multiple other projects, his debut role still stands out to his fans. Following his passing on Friday, it became a talking point as fans paid their respects to the late rapper and actor.

DMX’s Fans Show Love for His Debut Role in ‘Belly’ on Social Media

As part of the celebrations online for the life of DMX, his fans pointed out his amazing performance in his debut movie. Some even made sure to recommend the film to those who may not have seen it before. Director Ava DuVernay called DMX’s role one of her “favorite performances” in one of her “favorite films.”

Others made sure to highlight the significance of just how huge DMX was in the late ’90s. One Twitter user even shared his opinion that DMX was arguably more acclaimed and successful than Jay-Z at the time. It’s not a stretch believe it or not.

“Man, the loss of DMX is HUGE. He was larger than life, truly an icon,” the Twitter user wrote. “X was the first rapper to put out two #1 albums, with bangers mind you, in the same year 1998. He also was the first rapper to delve into acting at his rapping PEAK and do so successfully. Belly is a classic. DMX was arguably bigger and more successful as an artist than Jay-Z at one point in time.”

Another fan wanted others to take the time to recognize DMX’s acting career as well. Not just his stellar music career.

“Let’s take a minute to recognize DMX’s film career. Starring in the gonzo masterpiece Belly, and excellent Donald Goines adaptation Never Die Alone. And alongside legends like [Steven] Seagal and Jet Li. #RIP,” a fan wrote.

Finally, one Twitter user reminded everyone how bright DMX’s future was when he burst onto the scene. As the fan wrote, the “sky was the limit” in the entertainment industry for the dual-threat rapper and actor.

DMX may have left us too early, but the art he produced on record and in film will keep his legacy alive and well.