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  • Another New D12 Article!

    The Rap on D12
    With new release, Detroiters are trying to put Motor City on the rap map


    It was Saturday night(June 9th) at St. Andrew's Hall downtown. Hundreds of young people linger outside the sold-out venue while the crowd inside fights for oxygen. They're on hand for the CD release party for D12's major-label debut, Devil's Night, and it seems that everyone in the city wants to be there to see it go down.

    D12 stands for the Dirty Dozen, because each of its six members has adopted an alter-ego. The Detroit rap crew, which includes multiplatinum rap star Eminem, has already had a taste of the big time. All in their 20s, they have toured the world with Eminem, engaged in exaggerated musical and verbal feuds with rival rappers Everlast and Fred Durst and made their presence felt in publications such as the Source, Spin and Rolling Stone.

    But this night is much more than a CD release party -- it's a confirmation of sorts for the five members of D12, who, for the last three years, have largely been in the shadow of their very famous comrade. It's also an unspoken victory for every rapper who ever picked up a microphone in the city of Detroit. The Dirty Dozen (Proof, Bizarre, the Kon Artis, the Kuniva, Swift and Eminem) are poised to be the first urban rap crew from the hometown to have a shot at stardom. And Detroit is so ready.

    "It feels good to know that it's actually going down," says DJ Head, who spins for Eminem and D12. "There's a scene happening here. Now it's our turn."

    Following hot sets from Omen, the Beatnuts and locals Obie Trice, D12 hits the stage around 1 a.m. and St. Andrew's erupts. Eminem, executive producer of the new album, usually only makes cameo appearances now at D12's Detroit dates. But he joins them onstage for the first song and stays there for the rest of the show. Eminem wants to make clear that this is a group and, though he has journeyed from Detroit dishwasher to one of the biggest music stars in the world, he is still simply one of the guys.

    D12's new album, Devil's Night, is the first full-length release for Eminem's imprint label, Shady Records. Eminem was executive producer of the album, which will hit stores Tuesday.

    Here are the members of D12 with their alter-egos and real names:
    * Bizarre (aka Peter S. Bizarre) -- Rufus Johnson
    * Eminem (aka Slim Shady) -- Marshall Bruce Mathers III
    * Kon Artis (aka Mr. Denaun Porter) -- Denaun Porter
    * Proof (aka Big Proof, Dirty Harry) -- DeShaun Holton
    * Kuniva (aka Hannz G) -- Von Carlisle
    * Swift (aka Swifty McVay) -- Ondre Moore


    D12 member Proof, who is also Eminem's best friend and hype man (audience rouser), exits the stage for a moment while the other five let it flow for the screaming crowd. "It's dope! I love it," Proof remarks backstage as the sweat pours from his body. He's been on that stage many times before, but never like this.

    His half-brother, Tony Ganaway, is watching from the wings. "I just love seeing him perform," says Ganaway, 38. "He's been chasing this dream his whole life."

    The story of the Dirty Dozen is much more than a "local boys make good" tale. It's a story of dedication, loss, loyalty and victory.

    Proof (DeShaun Holton), the Kon Artis (Denaun Porter), the Kuniva (Von Carlisle) and Eminem (Marshall Bruce Mathers III) grew up together on Detroit's east side. It was through Proof's Saturday open mike events at the now-defunct music and clothing store the Hip-Hop Shop (at Seven Mile and Greenfield) that the four hooked up with Bizarre (Rufus Johnson). The year was 1994, and each of the rappers had already established himself on the local scene.

    "Eminem had two independent albums out before he got signed, so he was doin' his thing," says Bizarre who, at the time, was living in his car. "I had an independent album out called Attack of the Weirdos and the Kon Artis produced both of Eminem's EPs and he produced a couple songs on my EP. Proof had a single out called Searchin' and Swift was down with Da Rabees. We were all active in the hip-hop scene doin' somethin'."

    Detroit rapper Bugz (Karnail Pitts) R.I.P. was also on the scene and, eventually, Proof suggested that they form a group.

    "You kinda knew that they were the strongest clique out of everybody," says local rapper Paradime, 24, who used to bump into the group at the Hip Hop Shop and open-mike battles at Da Phat House (now closed) and St. Andrew's. "Eminem was like the prodigy and Proof was a freestyle expert. The other guys were just really aggressive and strong. Everybody knew who they were."

    But regular gigs were hard to come by.

    "It was kinda hard back then because a lot of the club owners didn't really want to take a chance on hip-hop," says Bizarre. "The hip-hop scene was so small in Detroit that, like, 70 people would be in a club and 50 of them would get in for free."

    But D12 was building its reputation regardless. Known for its freestyling prowess, the group was also taking the Detroit lyrical style sometimes referred to as "extreme hardcore," which played on violent and graphic fantasy themes, to new levels of creativity and depravity. People were starting to notice, including record labels.

    "When the group got together, things started getting serious," says Bizarre. "Proof was the first one in the group to get a record deal. So we just came up with this pact, like, 'Yo, we just gonna do this and, whoever gets on first has got to come back and get everybody else.' "

    In 1997, Eminem "got on."

    After winning second place freestyling at the Rap Olympics in Los Angeles, gangsta rap legend Dr. Dre signed Eminem to his Aftermath label, which is distributed by Interscope. Eminem's 1999 debut, The Slim Shady LP, was a multiplatinum worldwide hit. His controversial 2000 follow-up, The Marshall Mathers LP, boasted the second-biggest opening day sales figures ever. Eminem's new starpower caught his friends and collaborators in Detroit off guard.

    "We were always trying to take over Detroit, that's what we were focused on," says the Kon Artis. "We never knew that Em would blow up the way he did."

    Along with the success came tragedy. In May 1999, Eminem and members of D12 returned home from the road to discover that Bugz had been shot and killed on Belle Isle.

    "He had a big influence on us," Bizarre says. "Bugz had a lot of energy and a lot of respect in the hip-hop scene. He was cool to everybody."

    Before his death, Bugz had been bucking to get Detroit rapper Swift (Ondre Moore), with whom he had been collaborating, into the group. Familiar with Swift from their open-mike days, Bugz's friends honored his wishes and drafted Swift into the Dirty Dozen.
    As interest in Eminem has grown, so has interest in D12. And now, as they await the release of their major-label debut, the members of the crew realize that they will have to work extra hard to establish their identity as a group.

    "A lot of people are gonna look at it like that though. Like, 'Oh, Em went and found some MCs and put 'em all together -- the Backstreet Boys that rap.' "

    But a window into Eminem's world has also given D12 a perspective that most artists only achieve the hard way. And the patience to deal with the pressure.

    "I'm more into the business end of it instead of just rapping," Bizarre says. "I guess I matured in that way -- seeing things for what they are."

    "Things you couldn't get access to, everybody wants to get it for you now, y' know?" Kuniva says. "You have so many new 'friends.' It used to be stressful, when we were getting into the swing of things. But I'm just about used to it now. The good part is that (Eminem) can show us the ropes, what he's learned already."

    Because of his commitments as a solo artist, Eminem is only able to join the group for select dates on its leg of this summer's Warped Tour (which also features legendary Detroit rapper Esham). But Eminem's loyalty to the crew is obvious, as is his impact on the entire Detroit hip-hop scene.

    "The scene is more serious now," Bizarre says. "Eminem has given (Detroit rappers) hope that there's a chance that they can make it, too, and be a star."

    Kuniva hopes that D12 will further inspire the local scene.
    "I'm proud of where I'm from," he says. "Detroit has been overlooked for so many years as far as hip-hop and there's a lot of talent here. Just like Eminem came back and got us, we want to do the same thing with other artists. It's about being somebody and doing something with yourself."
    Dirty JIM

  • #2
    hey that was a good article thanx for the Info....

    Comment


    • #3
      Credit to me lol j/p
      My Detroit Music Stash

      Comment


      • #4
        (the dumb bitch responds again) Track 16, Devils Night style, "Shes a dumb bitch (dadadadddad) cause she came back to ride jims dick, its a dumb fuckin bitch, dadaddad



        Yo Jim could ya tell me what magazine tose two articles was out of please, thanks Keith

        Comment


        • #5
          Good Lookin

          Yes partial credit to Halfbreedpstcho, I was in the middle of typing it up and he gave me a link as I was finishing so Big UPs to TONY for some assistance
          Dirty JIM

          Comment


          • #6
            Yo that was a hot article,thanx 4 tha hook up.
            DAYZ IS SHORT AND LIFE IS SHORTER.
            Keep it real.

            www.cvsfinest.com <---real hiphop

            Comment


            • #7
              Word thanx for the crecit Jim. Im about to bounce and pick up the Detroit News so I can read bout it. I only get the Freep
              My Detroit Music Stash

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Tony and JIM. I got one questions though, I read in another article that Swifty was the first to get a deal... so was it him or Proof that got out first?

                TammyTam

                Vote for D12 "Purple Hills" at www.bet.com/106andpark and www.mtv.com for DFX

                Comment


                • #9
                  dope article

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That was a tight article! I think that it's nice that the members of D12 have a strong friendship!

                    Vote for the D12 Purple Hills Video on 106 and Park at www.bet.com/106andpark
                    and on dfx and trl at www.mtv.com


                    Comment

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