Back in Eminem’s Marshal Mathers LP days, I was introduced to D12 on the song Under the Influence. Having already been decently familiar with famous Eminem but knowing nothing of his past, I was kind of amazed. It turned out that the transgressive White lyricist was backed by a crew of Black hardcore rappers, who shared some of his shock tendencies but were mostly just really solid emcees. So I was excited to hear more of the Dirty Dozen, but singles like Purple Pills and My Band annoyed me much too much to allow that to happen. Now, here I am, in 2015, finally listening to a full D12 project, The Devil’s Night Mixtape. And just like with Guilty Simpson, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long with another Detroit artist!
In writing the review of the Demigodz’ great album Killmatic, I realized that it’s pretty rare for a rapper to have a group of his own that’s actually decent. I’m talking about groups that people came up with like Eminem’s D12 and groups they created like Snoop Dogg’s Tha Eastsidaz. Not supergroups where the roster is full of already-famous people. Let’s face it, being successful doesn’t speak to your ability to judge other people’s talents, at all. In fact, I’d venture to say that the average rapper is a horrible judge of talent in others. For evidence, see 90% of rap/sung collaborations. Or maybe these cats are just bad at nurturing the talent they find. Either way, hip-hop history is littered with bad groups fronted by good rappers.