There is a good reason why no one knows the name of Eminem's band, and "D-12 World" is proof why. The highly criticized sidekicks of Eminem; Proof, Bizarre, Swifty, Kon Artist & Kuniva, have lived under a microscope ever since they stepped foot in the Hip Hop industry. It's tough enough for a group of talent less emcees to make it, but when you have to follow in the footsteps of an individual the likes of Eminem, the journey is even harder. While their debut album "Devil's Night" was a solid offering that capitalized off of the groups shock value, there was no question that without Marshall Mathers the album would have never been equally as good. In fact, the entire world knows that D-12 is a group completely run by Eminem. The only problem is the rest of D-12 must have missed the memo.
While the group plays off of their public misfortunes with the lead single "My Band", there is nothing funny about their sophomore release "D-12 World". No one really expected D-12 to elevate their game to unseen levels for "D-12 World", but not many could have envisioned a final product this bad. Even though each member lacks any charisma, flare or lyrical talent, good production along with solid direction from Em has kept the group from total embarrassment. However, this time around even the great Marshall Mathers cannot cover up for the fact that D-12 is a below average group with hardly any talent or superstar like qualities. Eminem hoped that with time D-12 could rise above the odds and grow together as a group, but with "D-12 World" it only seems as if the tight knit group is moving backwards.
Besides any lack of substance, the main problem plaguing "D-12 World" is the production aspect. With Em and Kon Artist handling most of the production, the two constantly offer stale, bland and repetitive efforts that fail to raise the group above mediocrity. Kon Artist continues to flood the industry with his dated keyboard production that is all too repetitive and simplistic. "U R The One" & "I'll Be Damned" are prime examples, as both filler tracks are horrific on every imaginable level. The cliché sounds of "40 OZ" is a forced attempt to strike the southern demographic, as St. Louis's very own Trackboyz lace D-12 with their typical cut and paste production, making the track even more unbearable.
Even when D-12 gathers outside production from the likes of DJ Hi-Tek and Kanye West, the outcomes are still as disappointing. The title track "D-12 World" is without a doubt the worst Kanye West beat ever, as Kon laces the group with an obvious throwaway beat. On the other hand, Hi-Tek does manage to provide one of the best production efforts on the album, the only problem is, it was used for Bizarre's solo effort "Just Like Daddy". The sick and demented overweight emcee offers his usual brand of shock value humor with lines like "You don't wanna be just like your daddy, pimpin hoes, out here driving caddy's. Running around town, fucking with skeezers. Shots in your ass, catching diseases. Son, your daddy got a foul mouth, for fucking bitches in they foul mouth".
Besides the production aspect, an even bigger cause for concern is Em's lazy and erratic performances throughout the album. While Em has experimented with his flow and delivery for quite some time now, he goes a little overboard on tracks such as "Git Up" & "Bitch". Marshall has always been one of the coldest emcees when its come to his flow and complex rhyme schemes. However, Em is getting a little too caught up in making his delivery sound too cute and catchy, which unfortunately brings down his lyricism and content. His opening verse on the head scratching "Git Up" is proof enough. "Vanos vo vano, bananas in our flannels, hands around our colt handles. Hold them like roman candles. So, vannas vo vannas, banana fanna fo fannas. Who come back all bananas, banana clips loaded". Even worse is Em's senseless babbling on the weak commercial attempt of "Bitch", which ranks down as one of Slim's worst verses ever.
Even though the majority of "D-12 World" is one big mess, there are some standout attempts cluttered throughout the album. The finest comes in the form of "How Come", a powerful song dedicated to lost friends and relationships gone bad. Em thankfully returns to his old self and drops the songs best verse, one that is dedicated to a mystery figure everyone is wondering about. "6 In The Morning", "Loyalty" featuring Obie Trice & "Keep Talkin" are other solid attempts that succeed due to some nice hardcore production that follows in the footsteps of their better material on "Devils Night". But the albums best production effort comes from none other than Dr. Dre, who surprisingly only offers one beat on the entire album. "American Psycho 2" featuring B-Real definitely does justice to the original featured on "Devils Night", as Dre laces the track with that vintage dark and moody West Coast vibe. As always Eminem's verse steals the show, as Marshall even takes us back to his early days with a Slim Shady inspired verse. Die hard Em fans will be glad to hear performances like that from him instead of his usual gun toting, thug ramblings, as seen on tracks like "Get My Gun".
While there are a few attempts that live up to D-12's normal standards, the majority of "D-12 World" leaves the listener thoroughly disappointed. There is not much you can walk away with after listening to the album except the realization that D-12 is a below average group. Instead of growing with every release, D-12 is back at square one, trying to convince the industry they are their own entity without Slim. But no matter how hard they try, the fact remains that this is always going to be Eminem's world. D-12 should just be happy they are living in it.