Mixtape Mondays: D12

  • Name: D12

  • Mixtape: Please Bootleg This Album

  • Hometown: Detroit

  • Joints to check for: "Smackdown," "Dirty Promo," "I Ain't Trippin," "Been a Hoe"

  • Previous mixtapes: none

  • The 411: The biggest buzz on the street surrounding this CD is about the war of words between Detroit representatives D12 and Royce da 5'9". The mixtape starts with "Smackdown," on which Royce calls the Dirty Dozen the wackest rap group on the planet. The five-man troupe retaliates over 50 Cent's "Back Down" beat.

    "I know you wish you were Jay-Z, 50, D-Twizee, bitch/ But you ain't, so back down," they chant on the chorus before making fun of Royce for wearing rhinestones on his bandannas, calling him a fake LL and alleging that he got beat up at a Detroit nightclub.

    "We heard that he said something about us, but we didn't pay attention until we heard the audio on a hip-hop [Web site], so it was like, 'All right, dude,' " D12's Proof said of the beef. "Royce thinks that we had a [negative influence] on him and Em's relationship, when in fact he only calls Em when he needs something. You not really his boy. He played himself, so he's bitter."

    Royce could not be reached for comment.

    The group also uses its assortment of freestyles to get at Royce's fellow Shady Records nemeses, Ja Rule and Benzino, but they bring their patented D12 black humor to levy less serious threats at other peers.

    "Who want to battle with guns, bats and nightsticks?/ Jacked Master P for his tight whips with a ice pick," Kuniva raps elsewhere on the CD, using the instrumental track from Nas' "Made You Look."

    "We smoke crack in Detroit" is one of the many aberrant boasts Bizarre makes on "Tonight." Among the others are stealing cars, taking Vicodin and smoking weed.

    Perhaps D12's biggest purveyor of shock, Slim Shady, isn't anywhere to be found on the mixtape. "Our reason for doing this [CD] was to escape the shadow of Eminem and show we are individuals within ourselves," explained Proof, Slim's hype man and friend of 15 years. "These boys can rhyme, but nobody knows they can rhyme."

    "My Life" and "I Ain't Trippin" find the collective taking a more serious approach to mic rocking, with the latter detailing how Proof has dealt with stardom.

    "That song was dedicated to a lot of people I came up with that couldn't understand my transitions through this game," he explained. "They spit venom on you 'til you check them, like, 'Oh Proof, I'm sorry.' Nah I ain't trippin', that's y'all trippin'."

    D12, who are in the pre-production stages of their next album, said there's no trippin' amongst the ranks of the Shady/Aftermath camp. They all have each other's back. Eminem is wrapping up production on Obie Trice's debut and will then head back into the studio with his group.

    "Em got us doing some wild sh--, the way he be making these wild-ass beats and there's 50 different [rap] flows to them," said Proof, who hopes to get MTV's own Kurt Loder to appear on his upcoming solo LP. "They either gonna hate us or be like, 'Wow, Em got them on some alien sh--.'

    "You're gonna hear a mature D12," he added. "It's still gonna be some humor there, some silliness, but it's gonna be mature and it's not gonna be as gangsta to the core as say a 50 — a little bit of street sh--, a little bit of funny sh--."

    People will get to see the whole Shady motley crew on July 12, when Eminem performs at Detroit's Ford Field with 50 Cent, D12 and Obie Trice (see "Em's Hometown Concert In July Might Be The Eminem Show"). The Dirty Dozen said their next mixtape will drop around that time.

For a full-length feature on mixtape culture and the role of mixtapes in making a rapper's career, check out "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."

For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.