With a No. 1 album on the pop charts, rapper DMX was being called the successor to the late Tupac Shakur. Now, like Shakur, he has run afoul of the law.

DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, is accused of raping a woman he met at the strip club Harlem Nights last Friday. The 29-year-old stripper told police that Simmons, 27, invited her to an apartment party early Saturday morning.

There was no party, she said. According to a criminal complaint, Simmons allegedly raped and sodomized her.

Simmons, who lives in Mount Vernon, was charged Wednesday with rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment. He was free on $10,000 bail.

"There is just no truth to these allegations," his attorney, Murray Richman, said today. "We do not even know this person. And he was not at the club that night. He was never at that apartment."

Richman would not say where Simmons was Friday night. The club has no telephone listing.

Simmons has a criminal record dating to 1988, including arrests for drug-related offenses and larceny.

Known for barking like a pit bull in his songs, Simmons is the latest rap star in trouble. Others arrested in recent years include Shakur, Flavor Flav and Snoop Doggy Dogg.

It was Shakur, killed in a 1996 drive-by shooting, to whom Simmons was compared by his record label, Def Jam. In a recent article in Newsweek, Irv Gotti of Def Jam said Shakur's death left a void in rap music that Simmons had filled.

In a press release, Def Jam called the singer "the human embodiment of exhilarating and unadulterated chaos."

Simmons's album "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" debuted at the top of the Billboard pop charts earlier this month.