"Why is it so hard for people to believe that white people are poor?! I wouldn't say I lived in a ghetto, I'd say I lived in the 'hood. The same friends I had back then are the same people on tour with me now."
Those are the words of the most famous member of the group, D12. This group, also known as D-Twizzy or the Dirty Dozen, is a group of six rappers from the streets of Detroit who started rapping together and are continuing their rise to fame.
D12 was created in the streets of Detroit. Much like dance crews, groups or, crews, of rappers would gather to do battle with their tongues, instead of fists. The members of this particular crew of rappers included, Bizarre, Kon Artis, Eminem, Swift, Proof, and Kuniva. Long before they were thinking record deals they were thinking of nothing more than being heard.
Dark Streets of Detroit
The first major success that anyone in the group attained was Eminem's independent EP, Slim Shady EP (1997). Dr. Dre and Jimmy Lovine, CEO of Interscopeheard it and liked what they heard. Eminem was soon signed to Aftermath/Interscope. Shortly thereafter he released his first solo LP, The Slim Shady LP (1999).
This success prompted D12's leader, Proof, to make D12 a more cohesive group early in 1999. He recruited Eminem, Bizarre, Bugz, Kon Artis, and Swifty McVay to join the group. Tragedy struck early though, with the shooting death of Bugz on May 21, 1999. It was at this time that Kuniva requested to join the group. All of the members of the crew chose to honor Bugz's memory by getting a tattoo of his name. In addition, the tracks Good Die Young and Bugz 97 (which features Bugz) from their D12 World album are in his memory.
In 1999 the six members of the group signed a contract with Interscope and Eminem's Shady Records. Although Eminem has gained more popularity than any of the other members everyone in D12 insists that there is no frontman for the group, that Eminem is just another member. In addition, he is not the only member of the group to branch out to solo work. Bizarre and Proof both stepped out into the solo arena with the release of Hannicap Circus (2005) and Searching for Jerry Garcia (2005).
Stars on the Rise
As a group they have recorded two albums, Devil's Night (2001) and D12 World (2004), both of which debuted at number one on the US Billboard charts as well as topping the charts in other countries around the world. No doubt they are also at the top of the mp3 music download charts. Their hit singles from the two projects include: Fight Music, Purple Pills, How Come and My Band.
April of 2006 saw the crew's world rocked. First, on April 11, Proof was shot and killed at a club in Detroit after he fatally shot Keith Bender, Jr. over a game of pool. Ten days later, in Novi, Michigan, Swifty was arrested for failing to appear in court. The failure to appear was due to his attending Proof's funeral instead. At the time he was on probation for a drunk-driving charge. His failure to attend resulted in a 93 day sentence.
The world of rap is well known for the feuds which often plague many of the rappers. D12 is no different. Over the past few years they have had several well-known, well-publicized feuds, often originating with the group's most famous member, Eminem.
First, Eminem's second project, The Marshall Mathers LP, was given "2/5 mics" by the hip hop magazine, The Source. This did not make Eminem very happy and he dissed The Source in a couple of songs. Well, Source co-owner, Ramond Benzio Scott, dissed Eminem and gave himself "4/5 mics." The feud continued, encompassing many of Shady Records artists as well. Eventually, Benzio stepped down from The Source.
Another well-publicized feud was between Eminem and Everlast, member of House of Pain. Reportedly, Everlast made a comment about Eminem which angered the artist. He and D12 retaliated with the song Quitter. Also reported, long-time friends of Eminem, Limp Bizkit, were scheduled to appear on the song but, Limp Bizkit frontman, Fred Durst, canceled at the last minute. Another member of Limp Bizkit, DJ Lethal, made a comment about Eminem not being able to defeat Everlast in a fight, which sent Eminem into a rage, leading to the track Girls on D12's first album, Devil's Night.
Did you know that...
- ...Proof had a cameo in Eminem's movie, 8 Mile, as rapper "Lil' Tic."
- ...credited as the "Basketball Convicts" the group, minus Eminem, appear in the movie, The Longest Yard.
- ...Eminem and Kon Artis worked at a local pizza place, Gilbert's Lounge, before joining forces as a rap crew.
- ...in a strange twist of fate, original group member, Bugz, died the same day that Proof's son was born.