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by Matt Conaway
27 April, 2004@12:00 am
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   “These chicks don’t even know the name of my band….”  Okay, we understand the concept behind D-12 World’s lead-single, “My Band”. And will even admit that the spin and its accompanying video, making light of public perception and throwing the “sidekick” mentality in peoples faces is very clever marketing.  Nevertheless, its certainly a brash move for the rest of D12 to play along with the spoof and to some extent, be the butt of their own joke—but at least the video is a “TRL” mainstay, huh?

     But with D-12 World, the Dirty Dozen is now on their sophomore LP and to flip an oft-used Eminem phrase, it bears asking; will the real D-12 please stand up? And if they did, would you even pay attention?  Skeptics might tell you that D-12 is fakin’ jax and simply living off Em’s popularity.  Objective heads would argue that the group’s debut, Devils Night, was severely under-appreciated.  Regardless of opinion, D-12 is really in a no win situation; they are for better or worse Em’s band.

     Yet with their sophomore release, thanks to Eminem being less of a factor, the group is forced to stand up and to some extent, is made to carve out their own individual identities.  That’s not to say Em is a bystander, as he provides enough rewind material to keep things interesting; he dazzles his amazing breath control and flow and bashes the frenetic drum loop of “Git Up”, for ninety-seconds, channels the spirit of Patrick Bateman and mashes for Xzibit (“and go find out who did that shit to Xzibit/and go fill up a whole liquor bottle of piss/and shatter his fucking lips”) on “American Psycho II” and steals the show on the bullying “6 In The Mornin’”.  But despite Em’s center-staging, the rest of the crew manages to chime in as well.  Proof deftly keeps pace with Em on the rowdy southern-fried “40 Oz.” and D-12 ably handles things themselves on their ode to Bugz, “Good Die Young”, as well as Kanye West’s middle-eastern scented “D12 World”.  And while Obie Trice’s solidarity stance “D twizzy no question/one of the best/groups that done it/and Obie is their reflection” is a bit of a stretch, there’s no denying Shady rolls thick over Em’s ravishing production on “Loyalty”.

     And while D-12 makes some headway with D-12 World by showing some conceptual growth (“My Band,” “Good Die Young” & “How Come”), they are still far too reliant on the rudimentary gun busting and typical womanizing tracks; “I’ll Be Damned” and “U R The One.”  Likewise, besides Proof, some of the members remain content on playing it close to the vest with their assigned secondary cartoon roles, and Bizarre’s shock jock tactics begin to wear very thin, especially on his solo cut “Just Like You” where his outlandish banter circumvents a true Hi-Tek banger. 

      Does the real D-12 step out of Eminem’s ever luminous shadow with D-12 World?  Yes, and no.  But one thing we do know is this, they don’t really have too, as membership does have its privileges!!

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