Celebrity Bankruptcy: Rapper DMX (Earl Simmons)

Find out about the bankruptcy filing of rapper DMX.

Rapper DMX filed for bankruptcy on December 6, 2016. It wasn’t the first time the artist had filed: A court dismissed his last bankruptcy case in 2013 after instructing him not to file again until 2015. So why did he file this time? His decision likely had something to do with a $950,000 loan and a whopping family law obligation totaling $2,028,142.

“Skeleton Filing”

The bankruptcy process starts when a debtor files official bankruptcy forms with the court—and DMX did just that in late 2016. However, he didn’t submit all required forms—just a few in a process known as a “skeleton filing.” (Typically, a debtor who needs to file fast will use this approach.) The bankruptcy court gave DMX 45 days from December 6, 2016, to submit the remaining paperwork. A filer who fails to comply risks a dismissal of the case.

Finances: The Specifics

Bankruptcy filers must disclose every aspect of their financial situation. Here’s what we can glean from DMX’s skeleton filing (as of January 5, 2016).

What Does DMX Own?

Bankruptcy filers must list all property on Schedule A/B: Property. Using this form, DMX disclosed the following:

  • Real estate. One single family home worth $350,000. (It was unclear whether this figure represented equity or the total property value.)
  • Vehicles. None.
  • Personal and household items. None.
  • Financial assets. None.
  • Business-related property. None
  • Farm- and fishing-related property. None.
  • Other property. None.

Filers must provide these disclosures because creditors might be entitled to a portion of the property (or its value). That doesn’t mean that a debtor will automatically lose everything when filing for bankruptcy. All states—including New York, the state DMX filed in—allow debtors to protect (exempt) assets that they’ll need to work and live. (Check out our page on bankruptcy exemptions by state.)

How Much Does DMX Make?

All debtors—including DMX—must disclose how much they’ve earned year-to-date, as well as during the last two full years before the filing. In his initial filing, DMX didn’t file Schedule I: Your Income—the form used to report current earnings—or any other form that might provide such information.

In his 2013 case, though, DMX indicated that he was bringing in approximately $5,000 per month.

Whom Does DMX Owe Money?

DMX listed only nine creditors in his December 6, 2016, filing—a modest number when compared to other debtors. Two large debts comprised the majority of the reported debt. The remaining seven bills totaled only $2,828 (medical bills and fees).

The two big debts, referenced above, are:

  • $950,000 owed on a bank loan, and
  • a $2,028,142 family law debt from a settlement or divorce.

Monthly Payments

DMX didn’t submit his repayment plan (all Chapter 13 filers must prepare one) with his initial paperwork. A filer must include a proposed monthly payment amount in the repayment plan, and begin making the payment 30 days after the bankruptcy filing. A filer’s plan isn’t final until creditors have an opportunity to object at a hearing, and the filer receives plan approval from the bankruptcy court.

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