Like Eminem’s last two solo albums, the debut LP from his hometown crew, D12, opens with a public service announcement.
But this time, the announcer suggests that anyone offended by words like “bitch” and “faggot” should turn off their stereos immediately.
“We want people to know what the f
they gonna hear for the next hour,” D12’s Bizarre said, speaking from the group’s home base of Detroit last week. “It’s our own ghetto public service announcement.”
The sextet asks those who keep listening to Devils Night, due Tuesday, not to draw conclusions from what they hear – a request that will sound awfully familiar to Eminem fans.
“I say that I’m picking up transvestites on my Harley-Davidson in one of my raps,” Bizarre said. “There’s no barriers. You can’t say that we’re faggot bashers, you can’t say that we like gays, you can’t say nothing about us, ’cause we’re not scared to trip on any subject. How can we hate fags with Bizarre saying sh- like that? It’s all in fun, and that’s how it should be.”
But Bizarre said the album is not without realistic portraits, pointing, of all songs, to “American Psycho,” on which he and Eminem trade rhymes that bring listeners “into the mind of a psychopath killer,” complete with lyrics about eating a human fetus.
“It’s not really to shock. Shock-rap, to me, is just saying anything to get people’s attention,” Bizarre said. “Our minds are just warped like that. We just tell how we feel, and basically the sh- that we talk about is going on in real life. It’s just the type of sh- you don’t talk about. It might be sick, like some Stephen King horror sh-, but it’s reality. I’m just trying to be a narrator and tell a story.”
Devils Night – which includes the single “Purple Pills,” a.k.a. “Purple Hills” – features production work by Eminem, Dr. Dre, DJ Head and D12 member Kon Artis. The group recorded the album in fits and starts during breaks in Eminem’s touring schedule.
“Basically, Eminem is a workaholic, so he’s going to be at the studio a couple hours before we get there and 10 hours after we leave,” Bizarre said. “We all come up with ideas, but mostly he comes up with ideas.”
On the Dre-produced “Ain’t Nuttin But Music” – whose beat deviates only a hair from that of “The Real Slim Shady” – Eminem takes aim at his usual targets (Christina, Britney, Everlast, etc.) while his crew extends the bash list to include Whitney Houston, Destiny’s Child, Jesse Jackson, Baha Men and George Michael.
The album-closing track “Girls” finds Eminem dishing out wicked words for former friend Fred Durst – who just happens to be a vice president at Em’s label, Interscope – and Limp Bizkit’s DJ Lethal.
Though D12 – whose lineup also includes Proof, Kuniva and Swift – formed back in 1994, it’s taken this long for them to put out an album. The MCs made a pact, agreeing that whoever got signed first would come back for the rest of the group.
“Basically, Eminem was just so busy,” Bizarre said, adding that he never doubted the album would happen eventually. “Em is kind of a loner – he doesn’t have many friends, so he basically just kept us around him during his whole career. We just had to wait our turn and be patient – that’s what he told us to do.”
Bizarre said the group plans to put out one album per year from now on. D12 will get started on Devils Night’s follow-up in Eminem’s home studio this week, and the group will continue plugging away on it in between tour breaks and work on Em’s next solo album, he said.
“Everybody’s serious and committed. I think this album really made us mature. Rapping’s a job. In order to eat, you can’t just quit your job.”
With Eminem popping in on select dates, D12 will make a run on the Warped Tour beginning late next month. The group will head overseas in late August.