Rapper DMX has defended his decision to include violent lyrics in his songs - urging music fans not to take harsh rap tracks literally.
The hip-hop star is currently in jail awaiting sentencing after entering a guilty plea to four charges of animal cruelty, drug possession and theft in three separate cases.
But DMX - real name Earl Simmons - is adamant that just because he raps about guns and murder, doesn't mean he has a violent nature, because he has to talk about subjects his fans can relate to.
In an interview with Fox TV he says, "It's just slick talk and it's not something to be taken literally. If I was doing that I wouldn't be rapping. I would be walking round with a bullet-proof vest, with a load of guns. It's not something to be taken literally. It's word play, poetry. You have to say something to gain credibility, to gain the attention of your listeners."
And the rapper insists he always ends his LPs on a positive note, using his fame to spread a Christian message.
He adds, "What it boils down to is a gospel song and a prayer. Every album I ended with a gospel song and a prayer."