D-12 GROUP BIOGRAPHY: (See below for seperate member bio's)
D-12, also known as the Dirty Dozen, is a sextet of Detroit-based rappers headed by none other than Eminem on his own Shady Rec label. Members Bizarre, Swift, Kon Artis, Proof, and Kuniva have since proved they can match up to em's wit and lyrical proweresss on tha mic, whilst adding the humour, they claim they are "here to bring the sick, the obscene, the disgusting."
Still, it wasn't until Eminem's own legendary solo success with Dr. Dre that D12 finally got a chance to move beyond their neighborhoods of Detriot. "Em was able to take D12 to the next level," Kon Artis says. Prior to teaming up in front of tha mic, the two worked together at a local pizza joint called Gilbert's Lounge. "He helps to bring stuff out of us. With him, no matter what happens, it's always been about real friendship."
"We all knew each other growing up in Detroit," Proof remembers. "I used to sneak Em into my school lunchroom just so he could battle. Later, when we started battling once a month at Maurice Malone's Hip-Hop Shop, everybody had a crew. So, we decided to form our own. That's how D12 was born. Before we even thought about making records, our only goal was to be like verbal ninjas and kick ass."
Although the Detroit hip-hop scene might not be on the scale of New York or Cali, those who are down take rap very seriously. Having known each other since the days when they were rapping just to be heard, headnodding onstage inside Detroit's infamous Hip-Hop Shop (where Proof was also the host), these brothers from different mothers have always had a special bond. "We were the All-Star Team of battle rappers," Kuniva recalls. "And when somebody like Bizarre got in front of the mic, we never knew what he might say. Bizarre is wicked 'cause he'll say shit that others won't."
One friend and group member who wouldn't live to see D12 successfully rock the world was a young rapper named Bugz. Although he was down with the crew, Bugz was killed shortly before D12 was signed to Shady Records. "His last request was that we put Swift in the group," Proof says. "If you listen to our song 'Good Die Young' on D12 World, you'd understand how much he meant to the group." In an odd coincidence, Proof's son was born the same day Bugz died.
Indeed, Devil's Night, the groups first officially released project, established D12 as one of the supergroups of the new millennium, with its chart-topping singles "Purple Pills" and "Fight Music," and with their outlandish antics on record and in performance. This album made Eminems imprints on the Hip Hop community more dominant, but at the same time sent shockwaves around the world in the name of D12, not only for controversy, but talent also!
Tha D12 crew spent alot of time touring the world. Although Bizarre was still bringing the laughs and Kuniva was still being his outspoken self, there was still time for reflection. "Anyone who listened to the Devil's Night will hear a lot of growth on our new joint," Kon Artis says. "For the past two years all we've done is tour and mature." Bizarre concurs, "Although Eminem is the most prominent member of the crew, on this album the rest of D12 steps up and displays their skills. On D12 World, you can clearly hear we're all dope MCs. Most rap on the radio right now is either popcorn or gangsta, but we're going for a new refreshing approach with our beats and lyrical content."
Two years after selling over 4 million copies worldwide of their debut album Devil's Night, these Motor City wild boys are on a mission to define themselves in the hectic canon of hip-hop. "In D12 World, anything can happen at any time," Kuniva laughs. "Devil's Night was just an introduction, now it's time for us to really go crazy." While most cliques fronted by an internationally known rap superstar might try to distance themselves from secondhand fame, the members of D12 rather make fun of it with their first single, "My Band," lampooning the fact that more than a few journalists wrote about D12 as though they were the latest boy band on the scene. "The entire 'My Band' track originated from a joke," Swift explains. "On the whole song, Em is just this dick lead singer who anoints us 'the cute one' or 'the shy one.' It's just a goof directed at the media." Reminding one of a rap version of Spinal Tap, this minimally produced Em nugget has the charm of Mad magazine and sassiness of a snake.
The group balances out the release of "My Band" with the simultaneous release of "40 Oz." (video and single). The rowdy Trackboyz-produced track gives the club heads the rush they need to get the party started.
Em also contributed the frantic beat on "Git Up." Featuring Em's bouncy chants combined with creepy gothic strings, "Git Up," which is an exciting street burner taunts any suckers trying to step to the crew. As group member Kon Artis, himself a noted producer (find him listed as "Mr. Porter" in the production credits), says, "Em created a track that is just pure adrenaline. We just went in the studio and tried to destroy whatever people might think about D12. Any backlash that Em has to deal with from the press, we go though together. D12 is more than a group, we're brothers." Although naysayers and corn balls might try to label the humorous "I'm Gonna Get My Gun" as just another gangsta anthem, Bizarre knows better. "That's another one of those times we were just messing around in the studio," he explains. "One of the engineers said, 'You ever been in a club, and see dudes get in a fight. One guy always gotta announce...I'm gonna get my gun!' It's funny, but it's also real."
After massive success with the groups albums, and alos a few solo efforts, the group were shattered when fellow member, friend, and best friend to Eminem, Proof was shot and killed outside a detroit club in April 2006!
EMINEM BIOGRAPHY: (See below for other member bio's)
As a protégé of Dr. Dre, rapper Marshall Mathers, aka Slim Shady, aka Eminem, emerged in 1999 as one of the most controversial rappers to ever grace the genre. Using his biting wit and incredible skills to vent on everything from his unhappy childhood, to his bad relationship with his mom and his anti-homosexuallity views, to his contempt for the mainstream media, his success became the biggest crossover success the genre had seen since Dre's solo debut seven years earlier. The controversy over his lyrics was the best publicity any musician could afford, and being the first 'white' rapper to make a significant impact ever on Hip Hop may have given him a platform not afforded to equally talented African-American rappers.
A gifted producer as well, his talents always seemed overshadowed by his media presence, which was a mix between misunderstood genius and misogynistic homophobe. Both may be true, but his message spoke to legions of disaffected youth who had few role models in the rap world who could relate to the white lower-class experience.
He was born Marshall Mathers in St. Joseph, MO (near Kansas City), spending the better part of his impoverished childhood moving back and forth between his hometown and the city of Detroit. Initially attracted to rap as a teen, Eminem began performing at age 14, performing raps in the basement of his high school friend's home. The two went under the names Manix and M&M; (soon changed to Eminem), which Mathers took from his own initials. Due to the unavoidable racial boundaries that came with being a white rapper, he decided the easiest way to win over underground hip-hop audiences was to become a battle rapper and improve against other MCs. Although he wasn't immediately accepted, through time he became such a popular attraction that people would challenge him just to make a name for themselves and say they beat him, if they did.
His uncle's suicide prompted a brief exodus from the world of rap, but he returned and found himself courted by several other rappers to start groups. He first joined the "New Jacks", and then moved on to "Soul Intent", who released Eminem's first recorded single in 1995. A rapper named Proof (d12) performed the B-side on the single and enjoyed working with Eminem so much that he asked him to start yet another group. Proof worked with Em in a local pizza joint. Drafting in a few other friends, the group became known as "D-12", a six-member crew that supported one another as solo artists more than they collaborated. The birth of Eminem's first child with wife Kim Mathers put his career on hold again as he started working in order to care for his family. This, later on gave Eminem a bitterness that started to creep into his lyrics as he began to make personal experiences the topic of his raps.
A debut record, 1996's Infinite, broke his artistic rut but received few good reviews, as comparisons to Nas and AZ came unfavorably. Undaunted, he downplayed many of the positive messages he had been including in his raps and created Slim Shady, an alter ego that was not afraid to say whatever he felt. Tapping into his innermost feelings, he had a bounty of material to work with when his mother, Debbie, was accused of mentally and physically abusing his younger brother the same year. The next year his girlfriend left him and barred him from visiting their child, so he was forced to move back in with his mother, an experience that fueled his hatred toward her and made him even more sympathetic toward his brother. The material he was writing was uncharacteristically dark as he began to abuse drugs and alcohol at a more frequent rate. An unsuccessful suicide attempt was the last straw, as he realized his musical ambitions were the only way to escape his unhappy life. He released the brutal Slim Shady EP, a mean-spirited, funny, and thought-provoking record that was light years ahead of the material he had been writing beforehand. Making quite the impression in the underground not only for his exaggerated, nasal-voiced rapping style but also for his skin color, many quarters dubbed him the music's next "great white hope."
According to legend, Dr. Dre discovered his demo tape on the floor of Interscope label chief Jimmy Iovine's garage, but the reality was that Eminem took second place in the freestyle category at 1997's Rap Olympics MC Battle in Los Angeles and Iovine approached the rapper for a tape afterward. It wasn't until a month or two later that he played the tape for an enthusiastic Dre, who eagerly contacted Eminem. Upon meeting, Dre was taken back by his skin color more than his skill, but within the first hour they had already started recording "My Name Is." Dre agreed to produce his first album and the two released "Just Don't Give a Fuck" as a single to preview the new album. A reconciliation with his girlfriend led to the two getting married in the fall of 1998, and Interscope signed the rapper and prepared to give him a massive push on Dre's advice. An appearance on Kid Rock's Devil Without a Cause only helped the buzz that was slowly surrounding him.
The best-selling Slim Shady LP followed in early 1999, scoring a massive hit with the single and video "My Name Is," plus a popular follow-up in "Guilty Conscience"; over the next year, the album went triple platinum. With such wide exposure, controversy ensued over the album's content, with some harshly criticizing its cartoon-ish, graphic violence; others praised its edginess and surreal humor, as well as Eminem's own undeniable lyrical skills and Dre's inventive production. In between albums, Eminem appeared on Dre's Dr. Dre 2001, with his contributions providing some of the record's liveliest moments.
The Marshall Mathers LP appeared in the summer of 2000, moving close to two-million copies in its first week of release on its way to becoming the fastest-selling rap album of all time. Unfortunately, this success also bred more controversy, and no other musician was better suited for it than Eminem. Among the incidents that occurred included a scuffle with the Insane Clown Posse's employees in a car stereo shop, a bitter battle with pop star Christina Aguilera over a lyric about her fictional sexual exploits, a lawsuit from his mother over defamation of character, and an attack on a Detroit club goer after Eminem allegedly witnessed the man kissing his wife. Fans ate it up as his album stood strong at the top of the charts. But the mainstream media was not so enamored, as accusations of homophobia and sexism sprung from the inflammatory lyrics in the songs "Kill You" and "Kim." It was this last song that ended his marriage, as the song's chosen topic (violently murdering his real life wife Kim Mathers) drove his spouse to a suicide attempt before they divorced. Eminem toured throughout most of this, settling several of his court cases and engaging a mini-feud with rapper Everlast.
The annual Grammy Awards nominated the album for several awards, and to silence his critics the rapper called on Elton John to duet with him at the ceremony. In 2001, he teamed with several of his old Detroit running buddies and re-formed D-12. Releasing an album with the group, Eminem hit the road with them that summer and tried to ignore the efforts of his mother, who released an album in retaliation to his comments. After getting off of the road, he stepped in front of the camera and filmed 8 Mile, a film loosely based on his life directed by the unlikely fan Curtis Hanson (Wonder Boys). His constant media exposure died out as well, leaving him time to work on new music.
When he re-emerged in 2002, he splashed onto the scene with "Without Me," a single that attacked Moby and Limp Bizkit and celebrated his return to music. Surprisingly, the following album, The Eminem Show, inspired little controversy. Instead, the popular second single "Cleanin' Out My Closet" told of his dysfunctional childhood and explained his hatred toward his mother in a mannered, poignant fashion. And being Eminem, he followed this up with an appearance at MTV's Video Music Awards that inspired boos when he verbally assaulted Moby for no apparent reason. The album had massive success and praise worldwide as Eminem became the "king" of rap. His lyrical genius and flow was a fresh approach that Hip-Hop had not seen and with plenty of media attention, Dr Dre's beats and a record label of his own, Eminem is quickly becoming one of raps greatest.
PROOF BIOGRAPHY: (See below for other member bio's)
Inside a newly built recording studio nestled in the suburban hinterlands of his native Detroit, multi-platinum-selling rap star PROOF fusses over a desktop computer containing snippets from his upcoming debut solo album, Searching 4 Jerry Garcia. Pointing and clicking furiously, the lanky MC glances back and forth from the monitor to the friends who've arrived to listen to tracks from his newest musical offering. He frowns at the screen, then grins an apology to his audience. "I got love for ya, you know I do," he says, turning back to the Macintosh, "but I need to make sure this sounds right. You know me. I can't let you hear it if it doesn't sound right." PROOF refuses to take his work lightly, even in the confines of his own studio, even among the staff and supporters who've cheered his long climb to rap superstardom. He won't showcase any less than his best, not even in a leisurely sitting. A decade and a half since the member of the hit group D-12 began his ascent into the spotlight, PROOF figures he still has plenty to…well…prove.
Consider Searching 4 Jerry Garcia Proof's Exhibit A. The album's genre-bending mélange of hard-core hip-hop, reckless rock, and thoughtful jazz with live instruments lays bare equal parts soul and skill as PROOF fearlessly tours the back alleys of his resilient, tormented spirit. From mischievous son to concerned father, starved newcomer to stressed-out success, calculating pop star to freestyle fanatic-Searching 4 Jerry Garcia presents PROOF in any number of compelling incarnations. "I'm not going to do what they expect me to do with this album," says PROOF, who also goes by the aliases Big Proof and Derty Harry. "This album is going to be me with a bit more maturity. People will see my different sides. Some songs will be comedic, but on others I'm going to talk about how serious life is. And about how serious you have to be about it. Life can be tough, sometimes unfair and sad. But the question is, how do you deal with it?"
PROOF named the album after the former Grateful Dead frontman because he saw universality in their quest for freedom of expression and commonality with the ills that led to Garcia's premature demise. He explains, "I was turned onto to them while on tour and I was mesmerized by how Jerry Garcia could go from Jazz to Rock to Blues in the same live performance. He wasn't afraid to express himself musically. Also The Grateful Dead were about counter-culture and freedom of expression. I think it's dope that their fans were loyal to them without radio airplay and video rotation. It was all grassroots." He adds, "Despite his genius, Jerry Garcia died from drugs, stress, and poor diet. At one time or another we all struggle through one of those things, so in a way, we all have a little Jerry Garcia in us."
But Garcia wasn't the lone inspiration for the album. In an innovative twist, PROOF has named each song on the album after an iconic person or place that he feels reflects the song's theme-hence, songs such as the melancholy "Kurt Cobain," the domestic-turmoil jeremiad "Ike Turner" and the freewheeling, flighty "Neil Armstrong." He explains, "I wanted a lot of different sounds on here, but it had to still have that Detroit sound to it," says PROOF. "I also wanted to make music that could take people back. You know how certain smells or sounds can take you back and make you reflect on life? I wanted this album to accomplish something similar to that." To help broaden the soundscape for Garcia, Proof solicited contributions from a host of musical stars, including Eminem, D-12, Obie Trice, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and JD, former member of Detroit rap group Slum Village. PROOF even recruited his mother, esteemed poet Sheralene Holton, to read on the paean "Billie Holiday."
Of course, PROOF has been stimulating ears in Detroit since he was a teen, honing his craft in high-school lunchrooms, on street corners and in the cramped clubs and underground parties that served as battle zones for Detroit's little-noticed, yet talented and competitive, hip-hop underground. In the early 1990s, the most significant whistle-stop on that circuit was the Rhythm Kitchen, a popular weekly party that then-struggling fashion designer Maurice Malone staged at a tiny Chinese food restaurant. PROOF became a Rhythm Kitchen mainstay, his intricate, Uzi-fast delivery quickly grabbing Malone's ear.
Almost immediately, the battles became a magnet for Detroit's most skilled lyricists, drawing MCs from all over the city and helping to cement PROOF's credentials as one of the best freestyle artists around. (Those credentials even got him a cameo appearance in an early video for another then-fledgling Detroit musician, Aaliyah). Years later, when Malone's international success allowed him to open his Hip-Hop Shop clothing store, the designer picked PROOF, Detroit's most notorious MC, to serve as the in-house emcee and host for the freestyle battles that the shop sponsored "Those parties were very important for me. Those open mikes, those battles, they brought me to where I am. They grounded me in the culture and brought me together with a lot of good people," says PROOF, who further bolstered his standing when he swept through MCs nationwide to capture the Source Magazine's 1999 Freestyling Competition.
Indeed, PROOF forged fast friendships with several Hip-Hop Shop regulars, among them his future D-12 bandmates Bizarre, Kuniva, Kon Artis and Swift. He also befriended another then-obscure Detroit rapper, a kid named Eminem who later become known to the world as Slim Shady. New to the local hip-hop scene, Proof pushed Eminem into the battles, creating the street buzz needed for Eminem to secure a record deal with Aftermath/Interscope Records. When Eminem eventually landed his deal with Aftermath/Interscope, he made certain to bring PROOF and the other members of D-12 along for the giddy ride to celebrity, signing the group to his Shady/Interscope imprint. Last year D-12 released their multi-platinum group debut Devils' Night, which included the controversial hit "Purple Pills."
In late 2002, PROOF made his big screen debut in the film 8 Mile, which is loosely based on Eminem's life story. Though PROOF himself appeared in the film as Lil' Tic, his real-life persona was the inspiration for Mekhi Phifer's role "Future," the rapper who spends much of the film alternately hosting the MC battles and encouraging Eminem. "Touring, performing, hooking up with Em and D12, it's been nothing but good for me," he says. "I mean, I've done and seen things I'd never have done. I've been around the world three times. I've grown so much." Aside from D12, PROOF was also part of the Promatic Project, an offbeat collaborative effort between him, local artist Dogmatic and the Sicknotes production team.
After lending himself to so many group efforts, Proof is exploring his range as a solo artist. "I want people to hear a little more of me and who I am as an artist outside of the group projects. There's so much to express about the things that have shaped me." Recorded exclusively at his CSumFriends Studio, Searching 4 Garcia comes on the heels of Electric Cool-Aid Acid Testing, a six-song EP that also features fellow Michigan legend MC Breed and mix-tape wunderkind Journalist. "I put out Electric Cool-Aid Acid Testing so that people in the underground would have a little something to sample before the full album is released," says PROOF. "It's like how the Grateful Dead used to give away acid testing kits before their shows. That EP is the kit of dope lyrics. Test them yourself."
His confidence is justified by his latest effort. In Searching 4 Jerry Garcia, Proof has found a largely heretofore-unexplored purgatory in hip-hop, a middle ground between the freeform but commercially risky underground sound and the oft stagnating, but lucrative, pop mainstream. "The album is going to be more commercial than the EP," PROOF confesses. "People in the underground know what I can do. With the album, I want to get the attention of the mainstream as well as the underground." Like Electric Coolaid Acid Testing, Searching 4 Jerry Garcia will be released on PROOF's own IF (Iron Fist) Records label.
Between recording the EP and the album, performing with Eminem and D12 on The Anger Management Tour, hosting Detroit's hip-hop battles, launching a record label, opening a recording studio, and filming the 8 Mile movie, PROOF also adds businessman to his list of growing titles. He recently launching his record label, IF (Iron Fist) Records and founded a clothing line, "Squo," (Detroit slang meaning For Sure) which he plans to launch after the album release. Proof also built his own recording studio, CSumFriends, which serves as a creative outpost for many of Detroit's upcoming rap talent. "I didn't want to waste money on bling-bling things. Instead, I chose to reinvest it, where it can do me and others some good," he says. "Now, I don't have to pay to go to anybody's studio. I can be creative in my own space, working at my own pace. My studio also gives local talent a creative outlet. There was a lot of Detroit talent coming through the Hip-Hop Shop. Hopefully between the studio and the label, the world will get a chance to hear more of what Detroit has to offer."
"I want to show that you can talk about more than one thing in hip-hop. Rapping about cars and your Rolex is played out," says the MC. "You can be different and still be successful." For this, he stands as living PROOF.
Those are the words of one of raps greatest upcoming talents, he stood for things most in the rap game dont represent anymore, since 2pac anyway, and its a shame, like 2pac, it should come to a tragic end, and nothing more than a young mans dream of changing the world! RapCentral were shocked and upset when we heard proof and bizarre were shot at outside a detroit club. However details soon arrived stating that bizarre was not injured in the shoot out, and that Proof had tradically been shot and killed.
There's an individual who takes pride in being a role model for millions of kids in need of guidance in a violent and sex-obsessed world gone out of control. Unfortunately, that man is Bizarre. What else can be said for the weirdest member of Detroit's notorious platinum plus hip-hop crew D12 (Dirty Dozen). Indeed, in past lyrical outbursts, Bizarre has boasted of engaging in S&M; orgies with midgets, bumping off (late) comic actor John Candy, and mistakenly picking up transvestites in a drug-induced haze while recklessly wheeling a Harley Davidson.
Bizarre was born, Rufus Johnson, aka Peter S. Bizarre and was also a member of the group the Outsidaz which includes Rah Digga and Eminem; he has appeared in magazines such as "The Source" with D12 and his debut EP "Attack of the Weirdoes" received some notoriety in 1998. He was also the winner of Inner City Entertainment's "Flava of the Year" award for September 1998. Bizarre is mainly known for his humourus raps within the group of D-12, and his shower cap, rather than anything else, but that said he is as much a part of D-12 success as any other member, if not more so.
Having delivered his brand of demented comic relief meets sicko lyrical brilliance on D12's SoundScan-topping releases Devil's Night (2001) and D12 World (2004), Bizarre is once again poised to piss off the status quo with Hannicap Circus, his solo debut on Redhead Records/ Arsenal Entertainment/Sanctuary Urban. And while such a seemingly disturbing album title is bound to stir protest among P.C. enforcers, Bizarre maintains there's a more conceptual meaning behind the madness.
“I came up with the title because I really felt like most musicians that I've been around are fucking weird,” says the matter-of-fact rotund emcee. “I know I have my little weird ways, so I consider myself a special artist. I'm a guy that chews paper, wears a shower cap in public, pops Vicodin pills and goes fishing. There's not a lot of entertainment out there…everything is so hardcore, shoot ‘em up bang bang. I'm here to lighten up the hip-hop game.”
Hannicap Circus finds Bizarre stepping out from the motley crew safety net of D12 members Eminem, Kon Artis, Swift, Kuniva and Proof. And according to the hip-hop wildman, it's about damn time. His public fistfights for control over the Dirty Dozen against “leader” Marshall Mathers have become legendary in music industry circles (“Marshall was just asking to be punched out,” riffs Bizarre.) The ongoing rivalry picks up from where D12's 2004 hit “My Band” left off on his first single “Rock Star.” On the fast-paced Slim Shady produced track, Bizarre proclaims his dominance as an artist who has exceeded the likes of Elvis, The Osmonds, and Kiss combined. Who could argue? “I'm the man, the lead singer of the band, on stage for thousands of fans/I used to be a dancer for Hammer, if you look you can see me in the camera,” Bizarre flips in his trademark husky flow.
On “Bad Day,” an hilarious reworking of Ice Cube's 1992 West Coast classic “It Was A Good Day,” Bizarre is backed by hip-hop producing legend Erick Sermon and unleashes a witty dose of off-centered story-telling. “I gotta go because I got on flip-flops, if I slow down then my feet will drop/Had to stop at the red light, everybody laughing at my yellow dirt bike,” says the dejected rapper. The brazen “Gospel Weed” (producer TK) proves that nothing is sacred in the warped mind of Bizarre. And the x-rated R&B; fueled “Porno Bitches,” produced by D12's Mr. Porter and featuring fellow comedic rhymer Devin tha Dude and Outkast's own Big Boi, finds the deranged emcee claiming, “I love porn, but niggas be hating/R. Kelly ain't got nothing on the shit I be making.”
In keeping with Bizarre's unpredictable showmanship, Hannicap Circus' maddening diverse range of collaborations, from stic.man of the politically conscious group Dead Prez to fellow offbeat Detroit emcee King Gordy, more than makes sense. But it's the autobiographical coming-of-age tale “Hip Hop” (Hi Tek) and the heartfelt family dedication “Coming Home” (Raphael Saadiq)” that's sure to surprise longtime Bizarre followers. “Whenever I leave, I know it still hurt,” he testifies over the latter soulful track that also features fellow D12 spitter Kuniva. The song, which conveys Bizarre's pain of leaving his wife and kids behind for the pitfalls of the road, is a side of the man, born Rufus Johnson, rarely visualized in his music. The self-described “eccentric family man,” who now calls Atlanta home, says he wanted to use Hannicap Circus to show there's another side to his wildman persona.
“A lot of the shit on Hannicap Circus was made for weed smokers,” Bizarre freely admits. “But when I'm not rapping, I'm in Atlanta or Michigan fishing with my homeboys. I try to stay as normal as possible to keep myself grounded around my family. When D12 goes on tour it's so wild. I like to go home and take the trash out to remind myself who I am.”
For Bizarre, hip-hop remains a vital fix for the wide-eyed ‘80s kid who worshiped rap royalty EMPD and KRS-One. Raised by his mother in a strict but loving Jehovah's Witness household, young Rufus spent most of his early childhood shuttling back and forth from Texas to Detroit. By age 10, writing rhymes had become an obsession. Talent shows were an outlet well suited for the quirky, imaginative kid from Detroit's 7 Mile. However, at 18, an independent Bizarre moved out of the religious constraints of home to follow his dream of a recording deal.
What followed is hip-hop history: The life-altering, early ‘90s meeting with Motown freestyle king Proof and a lyrical white kid named Eminem; the daily struggles to be heard in a city not known for having a burgeoning hip-hop scene; the legendary rap battles for rhyme supremacy at the now iconic Hip Hop Shop; the untimely shooting death of beloved member Bugz. No one ever said it would ever be easy.
“Everybody knew who the dopest emcees in Detroit were,” he confidently recalls of his early battle-rap days. “Once we found the chemistry was so sweet we just decided to leave the other groups we were in and make D12 the main focus. But during that time we went through a lot of shit. I ended up sometimes sleeping in my car just trying to be put on.”
Following Bizarre's 1998 solo contract with independent Detroit label Federation Records which produced his aptly-titled underground assault Attack Of The Weirdos , D12 set their sights on bum rushing the national hip-hop stage. And a high profile Eminem recording deal with West Coast rap godfather Dr. Dre was just the opening D12 needed, as the crew eventually signed to Shady Records. Yet even after massive album sales, sold-out tours, and the pre-requisite spoils of partying and drugs, Bizarre wanted more.
He told his managers Max Gousse and Jeremy Geffen of his aspirations of becoming bigger than Young MC. A 2005 meeting with the Mathew Knowles-headed Sanctuary Urban Records Group was set. The perplexed yet impressed label promptly signed Bizarre through Geffen and Gousse's Arsenal Entertainment and the four went on to executive produce Hannicap Circus . “With this album, I'm focusing on me,” he suggests with superstar swagger. “We had more control of what we are doing, with this deal. It was like, ‘Do I want to go to a large conglomerate label and sit around four years or do I want to go to a smaller label like Sanctuary and be the biggest thing that walks through the door?'”
And there's more ahead. This summer Bizarre and D12 are going out on the blockbuster Anger Management 3 Tour with 50 Cent, G-Unit, Eminem and Lil' Jon & the East Side Boyz. With the release of Hannicap Circus Bizarre is set to begin his reign as the only emcee that matters. “Hip-Hop will always be in my blood,” the stout rhymer proclaims with a laugh. “But now I got all the hoes and I'm doing all the shows, making all the money…I'm a rock star now!”
KON ARTIS BIOGRAPHY:
Mr. Denine Porter, aka Kon Artis is also a producer for D-12 and worked on most tracks for their albums. Kon Artis was a part of the group "Da Brigade" along with other D-12 member "Kuniva" before they hooked up as D-12.
O.Moore, aka Swifty McVay. Swifty joined D12 in 1998 after Bugz died and I believe it was Bugz' last request that Swifty joined the group. Soon after Bugz' demise Swifty was signed up, either as a last request of a Bugz, or as a replacement. Non the less, Swifty has established himself as a vital member of D-12 and continues to show promise, but with such talent around him, how can he not?!?!
Kuniva aka Von Carlisle or Hannz G, was a part of "Da Brigade" along with Kon Artis before they joined D-12, and then signed to Shady Recs as part of D-12.
A few of you may not be aware of the fallen member of D-12, Karnail Pitts aka Robert Beck aka Bugz, who was born in 1978 around May. He was loved and appreciated by all the D12 members for his rapping skills and as a friend.
He became one of the first to join the burgeoning D12 crew. "Bugz was at the Shop, that's how we met him," Em recalls. "He was one of those young cats that every time he would spit, he would get better and better and better. Finally, we were like, 'Let's put him in the group.' We kept going through different group members ... but when we finally made it click, [it was with] Bugz in the group."
His life ended tragically on May the 21st in 1999 when he was shot 3 times at close range, and then run over after the shooting, the ambulance, due to traffic took 30 minutes to arrive. Bugz was rushed to hospital but later died: he was only 21.
Each of the member of the crew wears a tattoo of Bugz name in his honour. The tracks "Good Die Young" and "Bugz 97" on D12 World are also in his memory.
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