Also known as – The Dirty Dozen
Origin – Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres – Hip hop, hardcore hip hop, horrorcore
Years active – 1996–present
Labels – Shady
Associated acts – Obie Trice, B-Real, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre
Past membersBugz (deceased)
D12, an initialism for The Dirty Dozen, is an American hip hop group from Detroit, Michigan. D12 has had chart-topping albums in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. D12 was formed in 1996, and achieved mainstream success after Eminem rose to international fame. D12 released the album Devil’s Night in 2001 and D12 World in 2004, spawning numerous hits such as “Fight Music”, “Purple Pills”, “My Band”, “How Come” and “Shit on You” throughout that period. Since 2006, Eminem’s hiatus and the death of the member Proof resulted in them being less active in subsequent years.
A rivalry with a fellow Detroit-based group known as Natas began in the late 1990s, when D12 opened for Lil’ Kim at her Detroit show. It is alleged that Natas band member Esham Smith was attacked by a group of D12 associates after he was invited onstage and subsequently out performed them. Initially, D12 member Eminem was on good terms with Natas, but the two had a falling out when he criticized Esham’s second album. In speaking with Murder Dog, Esham responded to D12 calling them “the Village People of rap,” Eminem “a super bitch,” and making reference to Eminem’s daughter, Hailie, being in a coma, on the track “Chemical Imbalance”. D12, in turn, responded with the song “Instigator”, dissing Natas, while Proof made 2 diss tracks aimed specifically at Esham, “Every Sucker Has A Moment” and “Uh Huh”, though the latter was not released. Both sides tried to make amends prior to joining the Warped Tour 2001. However a fight was provoked, after Esham allegedly threw items at D12’s tour bus. Smith sustained a broken nose, bruised eardrum, a temporary loss of hearing, and multiple cuts and bruises, according his label’s spokeswoman. Natas member Mastamind sustained multiple cuts and bruises. Both groups were removed from the Warped Tour line up, and banned from ever performing at the festival again.
Royce da 5’9″
When first signed to Aftermath entertainment, Eminem was not on good terms with the rest of D12, causing him to initially only focus on furthering the career of his Bad Meets Evil band mate Royce da 5’9″. Royce performed on Eminem’s first solo album the Slim Shady LP, and acted as his hypeman for the first weeks of his début tour. Eminem eventually reconciled with D12, and also began giving time to establishing their career. This caused a number of projects Royce had planned with Eminem, to be postponed indefinitely. In protest, he resigned as Eminem’s hypeman, with the position being taken up by Proof. D12 saw this as a betrayal to Eminem, as the resignation came at the awkward time of halfway through his first tour. This resulted in an immediate falling out between Royce da 5’9″ and D12, with a drawn-out, public rivalry between the rapper and five of the six members ensuing. Royce releasing three diss tracks aimed at the group. The first diss track, “Shit On You”, was recorded over D12’s Shit On You instrumental’ and mainly attacked group member Bizarre. “Malcolm X” was the second diss track, which featured Tré Little. D12 responded with “Smack Down” which was recorded over 50 Cent’s “Back Down” instrumental. Proof also recorded a diss track entitled “Many Men”. This was recorded over 50 Cent’s “Many Men (Wish Death)” instrumental. Proof later released another diss with The Purple Gang called “Beef Is Ova”. Royce responded with his third diss track, which was recorded over 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” instrumental titled “Death Day”. In the Summer of 2003, D12 member Proof confronted Royce da 5’9″ outside a club in Detroit. Violence erupted between the rappers’ entourage, leading to the Police being called, and Proof and Royce’s arrest. The two were detained overnight in adjacent cells where they talked out their differences and ended the feud. A few years later Royce would feature on D12’s mixtape, Return Of the Dozen, as well as on the line-up of their following tour of Europe and Canada.
During the time Eminem and Mr. Porter started recording Recovery the rest of D12 were featured on a diss song towards Eminem with rapper Canibus, who had already had a feud with Eminem off his new record Melatonin Magik which was called “Air Strike (Pop Killer)”. Canibus name-dropped Eminem’s long time deceased friend Proof, Canibus said “If Proof Was Alive He’d Be Dying Inside”. D12 member Swift responded to the record publicly, and had the following to say about DZK (another rapper featured on the track). “[He] asked us to do a track with him when he already was teamed up with Canibus without us knowing. They dissed Em, took our verses and added them to the song so they can bring traffic and make it seem like we turning on Em… as a desperate attempt to be heard after ducking and dodging Em for 7 years. It was a straight hoe move.”
Their debut album, Devil’s Night, referring to the tradition of setting unoccupied buildings on fire the night before Halloween, was released in June 2001. It debuted at number one on the U.S. and number two on the UK chart, also reaching the top of the Canadian charts. Devil’s Night went on to sell four million albums worldwide and two million in the U.S. It featured the following hit singles:
“Purple Hills” (the clean version of “Purple Pills”) reached the top twenty on the Billboard 100 and number one on the rap tracks charts in 2001 as well as number two in the UK and the top ten in Australia.
“Shit on You” reached the UK top ten and the Canadian top five.
“Fight Music”, featuring Ice-T, Angie Martinez and Fat Joe in its music video, reached the UK top twenty and the Australian top forty.
The group’s second album was D12 World released on April 27, 2004, featuring production by Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mr. Porter and Kanye West, and guest appearances by Obie Trice on the track “Loyalty”, and B-Real of Cypress Hill on the track “American Psycho II”. It debuted at the top of the U.S., UK, and Australian album charts, and number two in Germany — selling over half a million records in its first week of release in the U.S. alone. “My Band”, the album’s first single, was also successful reaching number one in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. rhythmic top forty, the top five in the UK and Germany, and the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100.
Appearances in film
The members of the group have also, on occasion, turned to acting. Eminem is the lead actor in 8 Mile and has had cameo appearances in several films and shows, while Proof also appears in 8 Mile as a freestyle rapper called “Lil’ Tic”.
The group appear in 2005’s The Longest Yard credited as “Basketball Convicts”. For the movie, the group recorded the song “My Ballz” for The Longest Yard. Although Eminem was the only D12 member not to appear in the movie, he does perform the chorus and a verse in “My Ballz”.
Swifty McVay (1999–present)
Fuzz Scoota (1996–1999, 2011–present)
Bugz (1996–1999) (deceased)
Proof (1996–2006) (deceased)
Mr. Porter (1996–2012)
Karnail Pitts (January 5, 1978), better known as Bugz, was an American underground rapper from Detroit, Michigan and a member of D12 from 1996 to 1999. He became one of the first to join the burgeoning D12 crew. He was also a solo hip hop artist. Bugz was also known by his alter-ego “Robert Beck.” He released his first EP in 1999 called These Streets EP. Bugz also appeared on DJ Carl’s 1999 album The Art of Invisibility in which he rapped on the “Detroit Detroit” interlude. Most of Bugz’s solo work was in 1999, but several recordings from 1999 of him performing with other raps such as 5150 and M.O.B. were released on various album. Bugz’ first solo album, Mr. Obnoxious, was released posthumously in February 2000, with appearances from Eminem, 5150, Proof, Swifty McVay, and Bizarre. In 2004, DJ Butter hosted a posthumous mixtape called DJ Butter Presents: Bugz, One Man Mob.
Main article: D12 discography
2001: Devil’s Night
2004: D12 World
1997: The Underground EP
2008: Return of The Dozen
2011: Return of The Dozen, Vol. 2
Red Everything Movement