NEW YORK (AP) -- Rapper DMX walked free on Friday after pleading not guilty to what the Internal Revenue Service described as a brazen effort to evade $1.7 million in taxes, saying his faith and loyal fans would keep his career on track.

"It's allowed me to not be scared of the situation and face it head-on, you know what I'm saying?" the multi-platinum hip-hop artist, who's real name is Earl Simmons, told reporters. "My life is in God's hands."

Asked how his fans would react to his latest brush with the law, he responded, "It's reinforcing the love."

DMX, who's from Yonkers, entered the not guilty plea at a brief hearing in federal court in Manhattan. He had surrendered on Thursday and spent a night in custody before being released on $500,000 bond.

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