Tupac died in 1996, Biggie died in 1997. In 1998, DMX emerged as a modern folk hero, an iron-hearted bard of the streets who became the first rapper to put out two number one albums in the same calendar year. DMX released It's Dark And Hell Is Hot in the spring of '98 and Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood three days before Christmas. This same year, music video guru Hype Williams, impressed with X's superhuman charisma, offered him a film role: the lead in what would become the stylish gangster flick Belly.

“Hype Williams did my first video ‘Get At Me Dog,’ and at the end of the video, I’m eating and everything and he asked me if I wanted to be part of a movie," he told MTV's Sucker Free in 2012. His response: “Hell yeah.”

“I really don’t remember how I felt at the time,” he said of the film's production. “You gotta remember also, during that whole movie, I’d eat an egg and cheese sandwich with turkey bacon in the morning, then I’d drink a bottle of Hennessy per day. That was the contents of my stomach everyday.”

Thus began DMX's thespian career. Over the course of the following decade, he would star in a number of films, in most of which he was typecast as a drug dealer of some sort. And admittedly, many of these were crappy straight-to-DVD movies. Even amidst these low-budget shitshows, and amidst his recurring legal issues and his quest to father more children than any other man on Earth, DMX burnished his reputation as the most vital rapper-actor of his time. Ludacris, T.I., Ice Cube, Andre 3000—none of these guys have shit on Dark Man X.

Today is DMX's 47th birthday. We're celebrating his 10 most illustrious film roles between 1998 and 2008. Read on and let us know which is your favorite.