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Earl and Son Exodus share a moment backstage in DON'T TRY TO UNDERSTAND: A year in the Life of Earl “DMX” Simmons.
Earl and Son Exodus share a moment backstage in DMX: Don’t Try to Understand: A year in the Life of Earl “DMX” Simmons. Photographer: Travis Libin

HBO released the official trailer for the documentary DMX: Don’t Try to Understand, focusing on a year in the life of rapper Earl “DMX” Simmons as he is released from prison in early 2019 and attempts to rebuild his career in the music industry and reconnect with family and fans. Unfolding in cinéma vérité style and with unfettered access, the film bears witness to a man searching for reinvention and redemption, striving to stay true to himself while reestablishing his roles as a father, an artist, and an icon.

The documentary is part of the Music Box series, directed by Christopher Frierson and co-directed by Clark Slater, and executive produced by Bill Simmons (HBO’s “Andre The Giant,” “Showbiz Kids”); and debuts Thursday, November 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

DMX: Don’t Try to Understand follows the musician through his 2019 comeback tour “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot” after serving a year in prison for tax evasion. With archival materials showcasing some of the rapper’s highs and lows over the years, the film remains focused on DMX’s present, including his struggle to battle his own demons with addiction and the aftermath of an abusive upbringing, his deep faith and belief system, his dedication to his community of fans, his desire to mend bonds with his children, and his efforts to help troubled youth.

The film features intimate moments of DMX relating to young people and spending time with old friends in his hometown of Yonkers, New York, and we witness the powerful affirmative effect he has on the people who look up to him. The film also shows the disappointments he experiences as he grapples with an ongoing drug addiction and its impact on his loved ones.

Tragically, the life of DMX was cut too short and DMX: Don’t Try to Understand stands as a fitting tribute to the man who was fighting to regain all he had lost and to win back the love and trust of family, friends, and fans. With unflinching honesty and candor, DMX shows us the man behind the myth and the true artist behind the headlines.

Watch the official trailer for DMX: Don’t Try to Understand.

Following “Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage” and “Jagged,” subsequent films in the Music Box series include:

  • “Listening to Kenny G” (December 2): A humorous but incisive look at the saxophonist Kenny G, the best-selling instrumental artist of all time, and quite possibly one of the most famous living musicians; directed by Penny Lane.
  • “Mr. Saturday Night” (December 9): The untold story of Robert Stigwood, the impresario behind “Saturday Night Fever” and its record-breaking disco soundtrack; directed by John Maggio.
  • “Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss” (December 16): An intimate and often eye-opening exploration of the life and all-too-short career of wunderkind rapper Juice WRLD; directed by Tommy Oliver.
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