The rapper stays in LA, where he's shooting a movie...

A warrant was issued for the arrest of rapper DMX on Friday (February 9) after he failed to show up to begin a 15-day jail sentence for driving without a licence.

DMX, real name Russell Simmons, instead opted to remain in Los Angeles to film promotions for ‘Exit Wounds’, the film he has been shooting co-starring Steven Seagal.

His lawyer Mark Mahoney delivered a letter to Cheektowaga Town Justice Ronald E. Kmiote on DMX’s behalf explaining the reason for his absence.

“[‘Exit Wounds’ producer] Warner Bros. … is refusing to let [DMX] out of his contractual obligation to do a videotaping this weekend,” he said.

“I have been led to understand that there are, literally, millions of dollars committed to this, and more at stake if they do not get it done on time. Apparently great damage could be done to a lot of people if Mr. Simmons were not there.”

The letter continued, “He was given an unhappy choice. Mr. Simmons is at their mercy.”

He added that he expects DMX to begin his sentence as soon as shooting obligations are met early this week.

DMX was originally arrested on March 3 2000 after being stopped driving without a suspended licence in upstate New York. A quantity of marijuana was also found in his possession.

DMX is due to serve his sentence at Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden, New York.

‘Exit Wounds’ is scheduled for release in the US on March 16.