DMX – NON-OFFENDER!

Despite widespread speculation that he won't turn up, the hip-hop superstar wows London...

Hip-hop superstar DMX‘s first ever UK gigs went off without a hitch over the Bank Holiday weekend, despite widespread speculation that the rapper would fail to turn up.

Expected in the UK for promotional duties early last week, DMX eventually arrived on Friday, and promptly cancelled a raft of planned TV appearances. He did, however, join London hip-hop DJ 279 for his show on Choice FM on Friday night, and later dropped in on Tim Westwood‘s Radio 1 rap show, answering phone-in questions from fans.

The concerts, which took place on Saturday (27 May) and Monday (29 May) at the 3,000-capacity Rex in Stratford, east London, had been the subject of pessimistic speculation following numerous no-shows by US rap stars in recent years. London listings magazine Time Out even took the unusual step of advising ticket-holders to telephone the venue before setting out to confirm that the show was still on. But sold-out and almost hysterical crowds at both gigs proved that DMX is set to become as big a star in the UK as he already is in his native USA.

DMX, real name Earl Simmons, leapt into the mainstream overnight when his 1998 debut LP, ‘It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot’, entered the US album chart at Number One. His second album, ‘Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood’, which featured guest appearances from Marilyn Manson and Mary J Blige, broke records when it was released later that year. It too went into the Billboard chart at Number One in its first week on sale, making DMX the only artist in pop music history to have had both their first two albums top the chart in the week of release. Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, his third LP, ‘…And Then There Was X’, also debuted at Number One on its release late in 1999. Last week his label, Def Jam, announced that his album sales to date now total in excess of 10 million units.