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D12, an acronym for The Dirty Dozen, is an American hip hop group from Detroit, Michigan. D12 has had chart-topping albums in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.[1] D12 was formed in 1996, and achieved mainstream success after Eminem rose to international fame.[2]

Early careerIn order to make up the dozen, it was decided the six members at the time would each create an alter-ego.[citation needed] Proof chose Dirty Harry, Bizarre became Peter S. Bizarre, Kuniva became Hannz G. (which later became Rondell Beene), Kon Artis chose Mr. Porter, Bugz became Robert Beck and Eminem created the character Slim Shady.

In 1997 they released their debut album The Underground EP recorded between 1996 and 1997. In 1997 and through 1998, its members began establishing reputations locally. Bizarre was named Inner City Entertainment’s “Flava of the Week” and went on to release an album called Attack of the Weirdos. Along with Eminem, Rah Digga and Young Zee he became an honorary member of The Outsidaz. Proof won a freestyling competition run by The Source.

D12 went through many changes during the early days even becoming temporarily inactive when, after being heard by Dr. Dre, Eminem left to pursue a solo career. Around the time of Eminem’s first record deal, Proof attempted to bring new life to D12. He managed to recruit local Detroit hip hop duo Da Brigade, which was composed of Kuniva, a local MC, and Denaun, a longtime friend of Eminem and Proof. At the time Denaun Porter was the group’s producer and later produced Eminem’s first album Infinite, but was persuaded by his partner Kuniva to join him in the group as an artist. Later the group was joined by Bugz and needing one more member, Bugz introduced his long time friend Swift, who at the time was a member of rap duo Da Rabeez.[citation needed]

Death of BugzPrior to a show in Detroit, Bugz attended a picnic at which an incident took place that led to his fatal assault. An argument with a man over a water-pistol fight escalated, the man went to his SUV to retrieve a firearm which he then fired in Bugz’s direction. He was shot four times as well as being hit by the assailant’s vehicle as he fled the scene. The incident, on May 21, 1999, was captured on video and shown later that day on local news.

Members of the group were shaken by the tragic incident, darkening the mood within the collective. One of his final acts had been to request that Swift join the group.[3] Unfortunately, a few weeks after Swift joined, Bugz was killed. Many of the remaining members started to believe the group was finished. Following the death of Bugz, Eminem volunteered as replacement in order to fulfill the group’s forthcoming obligations. This led to Eminem eventually rejoining the group.[4]

In memory of Bugz, the group recorded the track “Good Die Young” on their second album D12 World. The album also included a song titled “Bugz ’97”, which was a 1997 recording of Bugz, originally from the song “Desperados”. All five members of D12 bear a tattoo of his name somewhere on their bodies in remembrance of him. The group recorded their first LP Devil’s Night in his memory. Eminem’s third album The Marshall Mathers LP was also dedicated to Bugz.

SuccessThe group has released two albums, Devil’s Night and D12 World. Both albums debuted at number one on the Billboard music charts in the U.S. and topped the charts in many other countries. The two albums’ hit singles included “Purple Pills”, “Fight Music”, “My Band”, and “How Come”.

In August 2001, D12 and Esham were kicked off the Warped Tour after members of the group allegedly physically attacked Esham over the lyrics of his song “Chemical Imbalance,” which contained a reference to Eminem’s daughter. Eminem was not present during the tour.[5][6]

The group was often overshadowed by Eminem’s massive success, and toured without him for the second album while Eminem was busy recording Encore. Although shadowed by Eminem’s success, other members Bizarre and Proof managed to prevail with mildly successful solo careers with the releases of Hannicap Circus and Searching for Jerry Garcia in 2005. D12 (minus Eminem) appeared on Tech N9ne’s 2002 album entitled Absolute Power on the track “She-Devil”. They also decided that Eminem would not be as prominent on their upcoming third album, which remains evident even after Proof’s death. Their third album is estimated to be 70% completed without any input from Eminem. However, in June 2009, Eminem confirmed he was also working hard on the group’s 3rd studio album on an announcement made on Rap city during an interview with Eminem and Denaun Porter.[7] The group recorded a song for Eminem’s album Recovery titled “Hit me With Your Best Shot,” but it was not featured on the official album.[8]

Death of Proof
D12 performing live at the Anger Management Tour in 2005.Main article: Proof (rapper)
On April 11, 2006, Proof died from a gunshot wound at a club in Detroit, after fatally shooting Keith Bender, Jr., following an argument over a game of pool. Proof was then shot by the bouncer Mario Etheridge, Bender’s cousin. At St. John Health’s Conner Creek Campus, he was pronounced dead on arrival shortly thereafter.[9] He was buried on April 19 in The Fellowship Chapel, Detroit, to a full house of 2,660 with thousands mourning outside.[10]

Swift’s incarcerationSwift was arrested in Novi, Michigan on April 21, 2006, after failing to appear in court. It was due to his attendance as an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of group member Proof. Already on probation for a DUI offence, for which he’d served two days in October 2005, he was sentenced by District Court Judge Brian MacKenzie to 93 days in jail for violating the terms of the probation. It resulted in the stalling of recording for D12’s third album. Following his release, work commenced on the album.

Fuzz Scoota rejoins and Return of the Dozen Vol. 2On May 21, 2008, after 4 years drought and the passing of Proof, D12 released a new mixtape, Return of the Dozen Volume 1. The mixtape was designed to get D12 back on their feet, in preparation for new possible content. The mixtape lacked appearance from Proof (who had passed) and Eminem (who was working on his solo album, Relapse (although several D12 members were working on their own solo albums/mixtapes at the time)). It contains several guest features from rappers such as Royce da 5’9″ (whom they had a feud with) and King Gordy. Some tracks were solo performances from a D12 member, such “If You Want It” by Kuniva, in a similar way to how Eminem performed “Girls” from Devil’s Night.[11]

In a video posted on April 6, 2011, Bizarre announced that Fuzz Scoota, a former member from the early incarnation of D12, has rejoined the group.[12] D12 released their mixtape Return of the Dozen 2 on April 12, 2011, which included Fuzz. Eminem was only present on one track throughout the whole mixtape, though he wasn’t present at all in the previous one. Due to Eminem being on tour for his album Recovery and because of Kon Artist being his current hype man there are only four active members of D12 (Bizarre, Kuniva, Swift & Fuzz). The others, while not currently active, are still members of D12. In a video posted on YouTube by Eminem & Royce da 5’9″ on June 13, 2011, Eminem stated that he was back in the studio with D12 after not being a very active member for nearly three years. [13] D12 performed at the Kanrocksas Music Festival on August 5, 2011.[14]

The track, “Outro”, off the Return of the Dozen Vol. 2 mixtape, had a music video released on September 1, 2011, though the video did not feature either Eminem or Kon Artis. The group also stated intentions to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of the Devils Night album, though the celebration will be held on the actual Devil’s Night on October 30th in St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, Michigan, even though the album was released months earlier on June 19, 2001.[15]

FeudsNatasA rivalry with a fellow Detroit-based group known asNatas began in the late 1990s, when D12 opened for Lil’ Kim at her Detroit show. It is alleged that Natas band member Esham Smith was attacked by a group of D12 associates after he was invited onstage and subsequently out performed them. Initially, D12 member Eminem was on good terms with Natas, but the two had a falling out when he criticized Esham’s second album. In speaking with Murder Dog, Esham responded to D12 calling them “the Village People of rap,” Eminem “a super bitch,” and making reference to Eminem’s daughter, Hailie, being in a coma, on the track “Chemical Imbalance”. Both sides tried to make amends prior to joining the Warped Tour 2001. However a fight was provoked, after Esham allegedly threw items at D12’s tour bus. Smith, sustained a broken nose, bruised eardrum, a temporary loss of hearing, and multiple cuts and bruises, according his label’s spokeswoman. Natas member Mastamind sustained multiple cuts and bruises. Both bands were removed from the Warped Tour line up, and banned from ever performing at the festival again.[16].

Benzino and The SourceRapper Eminem was granted “2/5 mics” for his sophomore effort, The Marshall Mathers LP, by infamous Hip-Hop magazine The Source during early 2000. This did not go over well with Eminem, and he mocked The Source in a few songs. However, an argument did not follow until Source co-owner, Ramond ‘Benzino’ Scott, released a diss track aimed at Eminem, and granted his own rap group’s album “4/5” mics, as well as a front page cover on the magazine. Beef quickly ensued, where Eminem, along with Shady Records artists, 50 Cent, Obie Trice, and D12 ripped apart The Source’s credibility, citing that nowadays with Scott as the owner, the magazine was corrupt.[17] Competing Hip Hop magazine, XXL also became entangled with the feud, and eventually Scott retired from his position at The Source. Since then, Benzino has attempted to discredit the reputation of Eminem and other upcoming artists such as Slaughterhouse and Shady Records by leaking racist comments made by a youthful Eminem. Eminem’s last known response to Benzino was on the track, “The Sauce”[18]

Everlast and Limp BizkitEminem was notified while on the Anger Management Tour that former House of Pain member, Everlast, had mocked him on a song. Everlast claimed that while passing by Mathers in a hotel lobby, Mathers gave him a “weird look.”[19] Taking offense to this, Eminem quickly began work on a retaliatory song, “I Remember” and later teamed up with D12 to make the song, “Quitter”. It was reported that long-time friends of Eminem, group Limp Bizkit, were meant to be featured on “Quitter”, but Fred Durst canceled at the last moment.[citation needed] The record continued its release without featuring Limp Bizkit, causing the Everlast-Mathers dispute to continue. In a TRL interview, Limp Bizkit member DJ Lethal made a statement that if Mathers and Everlast were to fight in real life, Everlast would win. This angered Eminem to the point of rage, and an insulting track aimed at both Everlast and Limp Bizkit appeared on D12’s mainstream debut, Devil’s Night, as a hidden track called “Girls”. Recently, things seem to have settled, and Eminem has no longer been heard insulting Everlast or Limp Bizkit. It is currently unknown if the dispute is resolved.[20]

CanibusDuring the time Eminem and Mr. Porter started recording Recovery the rest of D12 were featured on a diss song towards Eminem with rapper Canibus, who had already had a feud with Eminem off his new record Melatonin Magik which was called “Air Strike (Pop Killer)”. Canibus name dropped Eminem’s long time deceased friend Proof, Canibus said “If Proof Was Alive He’d Be Dying Inside”. D12 member Swift responded to the record publicly, and had the following to say about DZK (another rapper featured on the track). “[He] asked us to do a track with him when he already was teamed up with Canibus without us knowing. They dissed Em, took our verses and added them to the song so they can bring traffic and make it seem like we turning on Em… as a desperate attempt to be heard after ducking and dodging Em for 7 years. It was a straight hoe move.”[21]

Chart successTheir debut album, Devil’s Night, referring to the tradition of setting unoccupied buildings on fire the night before Halloween, was released in June 2001. It debuted at number one on the U.S. and number two on the UK chart,[22] also reaching the top of the Canadian charts. Devil’s Night went on to sell four million albums worldwide and two million in the U.S. It featured the following hit singles:

“Purple Hills” (the clean version of “Purple Pills”) reached the top twenty on the Billboard 100 and number one on the rap tracks charts in 2001 as well as number two in the UK[22] and the top ten in Australia.
“Shit on You” reached the UK top ten[22] and the Canadian top five.
“Flight Music”, (the clean version of “Fight Music”), featuring Ice T, Angie Martinez and Fat Joe in its music video, reached the UK top twenty[22] and the Australian top forty.
The group’s second album was D12 World released on April 27, 2004, featuring production by Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kon Artis and Kanye West, and guest appearances by Obie Trice on the track “Loyalty”, and B-Real of Cypress Hill on the track “American Psycho II”. It debuted at the top of the U.S., UK,[22] and Australian album charts, and number two in Germany — selling over half a million records in its first week of release in the U.S. alone. “My Band”, the album’s first single, was also successful reaching number one in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. rhythmic top forty, the top five in the UK[22] and Germany, and the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100.

Appearances in filmThe members of the group have also, on occasion, turned to acting. Eminem is the lead actor in 8 Mile and has had cameo appearances in several films and shows, while Proof also appears in 8 Mile as a freestyle rapper called “Lil’ Tic”.

The group appear in 2005’s The Longest Yard credited as “Basketball Convicts”. For the movie, the group recorded the song “My Ballz” for The Longest Yard. Although Eminem was the only D12 member not to appear in the movie, he does perform the chorus and a verse in “My Ballz”.

Kon Artis
Swifty McVay
Fuzz Scoota
Former members
Proof (deceased)
Bugz (deceased)


Posted February 26, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Rappers / Hip Hop

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