Crime & Courts

After SC police used DMX’s photo for a suspect sketch, rapper has artistic thoughts

After Grammy nominated rapper DMX saw a suspect sketch done by South Carolina police, he admitted, “He looks exactly like me.”

Los Angeles based celebrity news outlet TMZ spoke with DMX, born Earl Simmons, about the drawing after The State reported on uncanny similarities between the sketch and a photo of the rapper.

DMX is the voice behind hits like “Party Up (Up in Here)“ and “X Gon’ Give it To Ya,” which provided the soundtrack to a prominent scene in the 2016 Marvel Comics film Deadpool. He is the fifth-highest selling solo rap artist in the United States, according to Yahoo Entertainment.

X, as he’s sometimes called, expressed humor and confusion about the sketch, laughing through parts of the short interview and sometimes unsure what to say about the image.

DMX told TMZ, “I think they (messed) around ... drew a picture of me and added hair to it.”

That’s not far from the truth. The witness who described the suspect for the sketch artist told police, “‘The guy looks a lot like DMX,’” according to Thom Berry of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The state police agency employed the forensic artist that did the sketch. The photo the artist based the sketch on comes up as the lead image on the artists section of a record label that put out DMX’s early records. In a way, DMX praised the artist.

“You’ve never seen a police sketch with that much detail in it,” DMX said. “That’s a (freakin’) drawing right there. That ain’t no sketch.”

CPD sketch beside DMX screenshot
A Columbia Police Department sketch done by SLED of a shooting suspect beside a screen shot of a DMX photo from Ruff Ryders’ website. Provided and screenshot from Ruff Ryders' website

A June 19 shooting near an apartment complex close to Midlands Technical College’s Beltline campus prompted the sketch. A 27-year-old man was shot in the lower body. The Columbia Police Department began searching for the shooter, seeking to charge him with attempted murder. Police described the man as “being a tall, slender black male, possibly 30 years old with a short haircut and well-groomed beard.”

Wednesday, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said investigators were looking for 36-year-old Mack Wilson, labeling him a “person of interest” and saying he may have information about the shooting.

DMX has South Carolina connections. He used to live in the Upstate, where he had a few run-ins with law enforcement for driving violations.

“They know I’m on parole,” DMX said, addressing whether police might actually be looking for him. “I’m in New York. That’s the South. S--- is different down there.”

Deputy Chief Melron Kelly cleared DMX, saying, “I guarantee you he’s not,” the suspect.

DMX believed that South Carolina police possibly had an ulterior motive for using his photo for the suspect sketch.

“They might want me to come down there and do a party or something,” he told TMZ.

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.