D12, an initialism for The Dirty Dozen, is an American hip hop
supergroup from Detroit, Michigan.
D12 has had chart-topping albums in
the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
D12 was formed in
1995, and achieved mainstream success after
Eminem rose to
international fame. The original lineup consisted of the members
and their alter egos; this is where Eminem's Slim Shady persona
D12 released the album
Devil's Night in 2001 and
in 2004, spawning numerous hits such as "Fight Music", "Purple Pills",
"My Band", "How Come" and "Shit on You" throughout that period. Since
2006, Eminem's hiatus and the death of the member Proof resulted in
them being less active in subsequent years.
1.1 Formation, early career and The Underground EP (1996–98)
1.2 Death of
Bugz and Eminem's return (1999)
1.3 Devil's Night,
D12 World and appearances without
1.4 Death of Proof, Swift's arrest and
Eminem Presents: The Re-Up
1.5 Member changes, hiatus, mixtapes and comeback (2007–13)
1.6 Bizarre and Kon Artis rejoin, Shady XV, third studio album and The
Devil's Night Mixtape (2014–15)
1.7 Solo careers and collaborative works (2017–present)
2.2 Royce da 5'9"
6 External links
Formation, early career and The Underground EP (1996–98)
In order to make up the dozen, it was decided the six members at the
time would each create an alter ego. Proof's was Dirty Harry,
Bizarre's was Peter S. Bizarre, Kuniva's was Hannz G. (which later
became Rondell Beene), Kon Artis's was Mr. Porter, Bugz's was Robert
Eminem created Slim Shady.
In 1997, they released their debut extended play, The Underground EP,
which was recorded between 1996 and 1997. In 1997 and 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, 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. In 1999,
These Streets EP, and made several appearances on other rappers'
D12 went through many changes, even becoming temporarily inactive
when, after being heard by Dr. Dre,
Eminem left the group to pursue a
solo career. Around the time of Eminem's first record deal, Proof
attempted to revive D12. He managed to recruit local
Detroit hip hop
duo Da Brigade, composed of Kuniva, a local MC, and Denaun Porter, a
longtime friend of
Eminem and Proof. At the time, Porter was the
group's producer (he later produced Eminem's first album, Infinite),
but Kuniva persuaded him to join the group as an artist. Later the
group was joined by Bugz, and
Bugz introduced his longtime friend
Swift, who at the time was a member of rap duo Da Rabeez.[citation
Bugz and Eminem's return (1999)
On May 21, 1999, before a show in Detroit,
Bugz attended a picnic
where an argument with a man over a water pistol escalated into a
fight. The man went to his SUV and retrieved a firearm, which he fired
in Bugz's direction.
Bugz was shot four times and was hit by the
assailant's vehicle as the attacker fled the scene. The attack was
captured on video and aired later that day on local news.
Members of the group were shaken by the tragedy, darkening the mood
within the collective. One of Bugz's final acts had been a request
that Swift join the group. After Bugz's death,
as replacement to fulfill the group's forthcoming obligations. This
Eminem eventually rejoining the group.
At the time of his death,
Bugz was working on his first solo album,
Mr. Obnoxious, which was released posthumously in February 2000. D12
recorded their debut album, Devil's Night, in his memory. Eminem's
third album, The Marshall Mathers LP, is also dedicated to him. The
track "Good Die Young" on D12's second album,
D12 World, is about
Bugz. The album also includes "
Bugz '97", a 1997 recording originally
from the song "Desperados".
D12 World and appearances without Eminem
Their 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, 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.
In August 2001,
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.
Not long after, during a tour in the United Kingdom,
temporarily stranded due to the
September 11th attacks, and met with
Damon Albarn of Gorillaz, recording the single "911".
D12 World was released on April 27, 2004, featuring production by Dr.
Dre, Eminem, Porter and Kanye West, and guest appearances by Obie
Trice on the track "Loyalty" and
Cypress Hill on the track
"American Psycho II". It debuted at the top of the U.S., UK, and
Australian albums charts, and at 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, also reached number one in
Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. rhythmic top forty, the top five
in the UK and Germany, and the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100.
The group appeared in the 2005 film The Longest Yard credited as
"Basketball Convicts". For the movie, the group recorded the song "My
Eminem was the only
D12 member not to appear in the
movie, he performs the chorus and a verse in "My Ballz".
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 mildly successful solo careers with the
Hannicap Circus and
Searching for Jerry Garcia
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 third studio
album on an announcement made on Rap City during an interview with
Eminem and Denaun Porter. 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. It was later featured on Eminem's
Straight from the Lab
Straight from the Lab Part 2 which leaked in 2011.
Death of Proof, Swift's arrest and
Eminem Presents: The Re-Up (2006)
See also: Proof (rapper)
On April 11, 2006, Proof died from a gunshot wound at a club in
Detroit, after allegedly 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. He was pronounced dead on arrival at
St. John Health's Conner Creek Campus shortly thereafter. He was
buried on April 19 in The Fellowship Chapel, Detroit, to a full house
of 2,660 with thousands mourning outside.
Ten days later after Proof's death, Swift was arrested in Novi,
Michigan, after failing to show up in court. This was due to his
attendance as an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of group member
Proof. Already on probation for a
DUI offense, for which he 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.
This resulted in the stalling of recording for D12's third album.
Following his release, work commenced on the album.
On December 5, 2006,
Shady Records released
Eminem Presents: The Re-Up
which featured performances by Eminem, D12, 50 Cent, Obie Trice, Bobby
Cashis while affiliated artists such as Lloyd Banks,
Akon and Nate Dogg, made guest appearances. Some tracks were
collaborative performances from
D12 members, such as "Murder" by
Bizarre and Kuniva and "Whatever You Want" by
Swifty McVay and Mr.
Porter. The track "Trapped" by Proof included an intro by Eminem
paying his final respects saying, "Big Proof, rest in peace dudey we
love you. We just wanna keep making you proud."
Member changes, hiatus, mixtapes and comeback (2007–13)
On May 21, 2008, after four years of inactivity and the passing of
D12 released a new mixtape, Return of the Dozen Vol. 1. The
mixtape was designed to get
D12 back on their feet in preparation for
new possible content. The mixtape lacked
Eminem (who was working on
his solo album, Relapse). It contains several guest features from
rappers such as
Royce da 5'9"
Royce da 5'9" (whom they had a feud with) and King
Gordy. Some tracks were solo performances from a
D12 member, such as
"If You Want It" by Kuniva, in a similar way to how
"Girls" from Devil's Night.
D12 released their mixtape Return of the Dozen Vol. 2 on April 12,
2011, which featured Fuzz Scoota. Fuzz Scoota was one of the original
D12 but left in 1999. He then later joined back with
April 7, 2011.
Eminem was only present on one track throughout the
whole mixtape, though he wasn't present at all in the previous one.
Eminem being on tour for his album Recovery and because of Mr.
Porter being his current hype man there were four active members of
D12 at the time (Bizarre, Kuniva, Fuzz and Swift). The others, while
not currently active, were still members of D12. In a video posted on
Royce da 5'9"
Royce da 5'9" on June 13, 2011,
that he was back in the studio with
D12 after not being a very active
member for nearly three years.
D12 performed at the Kanrocksas
Music Festival on August 5, 2011.
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
Eminem or Mr. Porter. The group also stated intentions
to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of the Devils Night
album, though the celebration was held on the actual
Devil's Night on
October 30 in Saint Andrew's Hall in Detroit, Michigan, even though
the album was released months earlier on June 19, 2001.
In 2012, Bizarre left the group, citing creative differences. That
same year, March 24,
Mr. Porter announced that he had left
D12 via a
series of tweets. In the
Twitter posts, he said that he wanted to
focus on being a solo artist, but clarified that holds no animosity
toward other members of the group. The group now currently has only
While promoting his recent mixtape, Kuniva was interviewed in August
2012 about the group's status. He replied that it's "not over, we're
still coming." He went on to state that
D12 had been back in the
studio as a whole. Former
Mr. Porter was asked on Twitter
on January 26, 2013 about a possible new
D12 album. He responded "Not
happening bro sorry", clarifying that he would not appear on the
Bizarre and Kon Artis rejoin, Shady XV, third studio album and The
Devil's Night Mixtape (2014–15)
In January 2014, Mark Bass of the
Bass Brothers confirmed that
been recently recording at the F.B.T. studio and he had been mixing
their recorded material. He also confirmed that
Eminem was featured on
at least three songs that have been completed. In February 2014,
Bizarre confirmed that he was back in the group and that
D12 would be
releasing their third studio album during 2014.
On August 25, 2014, a press release on Eminem's official website also
D12 to be featured on the label's upcoming 2-disc compilation
album, titled Shady XV. The album, released on November 24, 2014,
featured one greatest hits disc and one disc with new material from a
Shady Records recording artists including D12. The new D12
song was entitled "Bane", which features the return of Kon Artis, and
was produced by group member Mr. Porter. The song did not feature
Eminem or returning member Fuzz Scoota.
On August 18, 2015,
D12 confirmed on Tim Westwood TV that they have
already recorded a large number of songs for the album and will
release it "when the time is right." On October 1, 2015, it was
D12 would be releasing a new mixtape, The Devil's Night
Mixtape was released on October 30, 2015 and it featured Lazarus,
Swifty McVay and Kuniva. It was hosted by DJ Whoo
Solo careers and collaborative works (2017–present)
D12 have been focusing on their respective solo careers. On
Swifty McVay released his debut album Grey Blood.
Bizarre is set to release his new mixtape Tweek Sity 2, in
addition to working on collaborations with other artists such as Riff
King Gordy and Qom Qazamah respectively. Swifty McVay
and Kuniva are currently working on their collaboration album, titled
My Brother's Keeper.
A rivalry with a fellow Detroit-based group known as Natas 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
D12 associates after he was invited onstage and subsequently
outperformed them. Initially,
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
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". D12, in turn, responded with the song
"Instigator", dissing Natas, while Proof made two diss tracks aimed
specifically at Esham, "Every Sucker Has a Moment" and "Uh Huh",
though the latter was not released. Both sides tried to make amends
prior to joining the
Warped Tour 2001. However a fight was provoked
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 to his label's spokeswoman. Natas
Mastamind sustained multiple cuts and bruises. Both groups were
removed from the
Warped Tour line up, and banned from ever performing
at the festival again.
Royce da 5'9"
When first signed to Aftermath Entertainment,
Eminem was not on good
terms with the rest of D12, causing him to initially only focus on
furthering the career of his
Bad Meets Evil
Bad Meets Evil bandmate Royce da 5'9".
Royce performed on Eminem's first solo album The Slim Shady LP, and
acted as his hype man for the first weeks of his debut tour. Eminem
eventually reconciled with D12, and also began giving time to
establishing their career. This caused a number of projects Royce had
Eminem to be postponed indefinitely. In protest, he
resigned as Eminem's hype man, with the position being taken up by
D12 saw this as a betrayal to Eminem, as the resignation came
at the awkward time of halfway through his first tour. This resulted
in an immediate falling out between
Royce da 5'9"
Royce da 5'9" and D12, with a
drawn-out, public rivalry between the rapper and five of the six
members ensuing. Royce released three diss tracks aimed at the
group; the first diss track, "Shit on You", was recorded over the
instrumental of D12's "Shit on You" and mainly attacked group member
Bizarre. "Malcolm X" was the second diss track, which featured Tré
D12 responded with "Smack Down", which was recorded over 50
Cent's "Back Down" instrumental. Proof also recorded a diss track
entitled "Many Men". This was recorded over 50 Cent's "Many Men (Wish
Death)" instrumental. Proof later released another diss with The
Purple Gang called "Beef Is Ova". Royce responded with his third diss
track, which was recorded over 50 Cent's "In Da Club" instrumental
titled "Death Day". In the Summer of 2003,
D12 member Proof confronted
Royce da 5'9"
Royce da 5'9" outside a club in Detroit. Violence erupted between the
rappers' entourage, leading to the police being called, and Proof and
Royce's arrest. The two were detained overnight in adjacent cells
where they talked out their differences and ended the feud. A few
years later Royce would feature on D12's mixtape, Return of the Dozen,
as well as on the line-up of their following tour of Europe and Canada
and appearing on The
Devil's Night Mixtape.
During the time
Mr. Porter started recording Recovery, the
D12 were featured on a diss track directed at
Canibus on his record
Melatonin Magik titled "Air Strike (Pop
Canibus had previously been involved in a feud with Eminem.
Canibus name-dropped Eminem's longtime deceased friend Proof, saying
"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."
Eminem (1996–2005; on hiatus, 2009-present)
Bizarre (1996–2012, 2014–present)
Swifty McVay (1999–present)
Mr. Porter (1996–2012, 2014–present)
Bugz (1996–1999; his death)
Proof (1996–2006; his death)
Fuzz Scoota (1996–1999, 2011–2015)
Devil's Night (2001)
D12 World (2004)
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^ Cohen, Sara (2007). Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music
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Esham and (to a lesser
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Hip hop portal
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