It’s one thing when a clean-cut, homeschooled college football star shares his faith with the media with the hope that fans will follow in his footsteps and his faith.
It’s quite another when an imprisoned rap star who defends his profanity-laden lyrics shares his.
But rapper DMX wants the public to hear him out and withhold judgment.
“You can’t form an opinion [based] on one song,” says DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons. “You have to listen to the entire album, ‘cause the entire album is like a journey.”
In a recent interview with a Fox News affiliate, DMX said he reads the Bible every day, plans to launch a television program about how he can “reach people that the average person can’t reach,” and hopes to eventually preach from the pulpit – some time after he gets out of jail, that is.
"[This time in jail] has gotten me closer ... to realizing, to actualizing my true calling in life, which is to be a pastor," the rap artist told Fox 10 News as he sat in the Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix.
DMX is currently in jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last month to one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, one felony count of theft, and one count each of felony possession of marijuana and a narcotic drug. According to the Maricopa County attorney's office, DMX is expected to receive a minimum 90-day jail sentence as well as probation under terms of a plea agreement.
Though his situation may appear bleak, the popular rapper tried to look at it in a positive light.
"I came here to meet somebody,” said the rapper, referred to in the interview as simply “X.” “Don't know who it was, but I’ll know when I see him. And I came here to give him a message. And that message is Jesus loves them."
For those familiar with DMX, the rapper's latest statements sounds not too different from what he claimed in March 2003, when he said he planned to retire from rap and turn to preaching.
What most will likely find odd, however, is the explanation he offers in defense of the profane and violent lyrics that lace his songs and how he even encourages his children to listen to them.
"It's just slick talk; it's not something to be taken literally. Evidently, if I was doing that, I wouldn't be rapping,” he said.
“It's word play, poetry,” he added.
DMX was also quick to note that the central messages to his songs are contained at the end of them and that the course he takes to deliver that message is to gain the attention and the credibility of his listeners.
"What it boils down to, and it always boils down to, is a gospel song and a prayer,” he said. “Every album I ended with a gospel song and a prayer.”
Though many may have their doubts about DMX, considering his present state, the rapper’s hope for those not familiar with him is that they withhold judgment.
“Don’t have an assumption on who I am until you’ve met me,” he said.
“You can’t look at … one instance and determine who that man is,” DMX contended.
DMX is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 30 in an Arizona superior court.
The 38-year-old rapper has a fiancée and eight children, whose ages range from 3 months to 16 years.