Sunday, May 10, 2009

Demo Week, Day 3: D12

When Eminem just started blowing up outside of the underground heads circuit, and they gave Em his own Shady Records as part of his deal, the first act he signed, of course, was his crew, The Dirty Dozen. And when they first signed, one of the guys at Interscope gave me this tape. It's only one song, but it's hot and it's still unreleased.

Before Em and the Dozen all started doing this Dre-style pop music they all do now, and the Dozen got a reputation as being weed carriers to an E! Channel wannabe... before all that, I think people've forgotten, these were some lyrical cats. They were some sick MCs with some some sick ideas and a dope sound. And this song is really in that vein... so I guess it's no surprise it got left off of Devil's Night.

And before you ask, "We Live This Shhh" does not feature Eminem. And there's no production credits, but hazarding a guess, I'll say maybe it's Denaun Porter. It's got a hardcore, gritty sound, but with a touch of that "not sampled but made in a studio" music to it. And it features the MCs just continually passing and re-grabbing the mic, kicking ill, freestyle rhymes. Proof comes hard, "Holdin' three-eighties to naked twin babies - Dirty Dozen the reason y'all don't fuck with Slim Shady!" Bizarre makes extended Boogie Down Production references, "Let me begin: What? Where? Why? or When? Bizarre fuck around and blast you and your friends. See I'm not insane, in fact I'm kinda lyrical. If you live past twelve, it'll be a miracle," but surprisingly it's Kon Artist that comes with the wickedest verse:

"My idea of a romantic evening is date rape!
A caged ape
On the run from police,
Hoppin' off of your momma's fire-escape.
It's ten stories high,
Land on a limo;
Kill the chauffer,
Then skirt out bumpin' my new demo.
My life's on lease.
Get a piece of your grandniece
Then tell her my real name's Reece."

This isn't maybe the very best Em and the Dozen were capable of -if they continued in the right direction, they probably had some slicker rhymes and even more compelling beats - but it's absolutely the D12 that should've been rather than the D12 that was. Supposedly, the Dozen are working on another album after all this Relapse nonsense, but frankly, I'd just like to hear all their old school shit with Bugz, Outsidaz collabos, Proof, etc see the light of day. I'll be happy to sleep through the rest of their over-produced, teen-catering-to major studio period.

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