Monday, 26 March 2018

D12 "The Underground EP" (1996)

The Dirty Dozen, better know as D12 are a Detroit based rap collective formed in 1996. They are best known for their association with founding member Eminem, who created his Slim Shady persona for the group, each of the six members had alter egos to make up a dozen. My recent foray into some of Marshall's early records and Soul Intent demos led me too this record I completely forgotten about. Its no surprise because its a poor demo release, perhaps hindered by the poor fidelity of some tracks which border inaudible as the bass rumbles and overpowers the rappers.

I was never big on D12, Purple Pills and the like where fun back in the MTV days but only one track, Fight Music, still sounds reasonable today. The rest of their material sounds immature and intentionally shocking upon reflection. Lyrically this EP has more substance in flashes but also some indulgences in intentionally provocative lyrics. Its a high pitched, Beastie Boys alike, Eminem and filthy Bizzare that lead the front on the shock lyrics. Proof on the other hand comes with far better verses than anyone else around him and gives the record a couple of credible track.

The production style dominates my lack of enjoyment. The beats are stripped back and dull. Popping snares groove of light, brief bass kicks and thin hi-hats while melodies are reduced to a minimal amount of notes. The sub bass rumbles with a lack of coherence, just punching in the space around the kick drum adding next to no value. Cock And Squeeze ads some thickness and color to the sound with an indulgent, hypnotic sample but the the choice to cut the volume dead in time with the beat is a firm reminder this style is just not my cup of tea. Its all to stiff and monotone, I can't groove with it. One track, Derelict Theme, manages to overcast this style with some powerful, moody strings that bring a rich and gnarly atmosphere to the track but one reasonable song in a stint of drab duds couldn't save this record.

In their inception there is little other than Proof that stands out and shows promise. You can however hear some obvious influences on Eminem's career, especially when he gets into production in the mid 00s, his hard cut style has some similarities to whats attempted here. The Underground EP is unfortunately a dull record and given the fidelity of Art Of War it could be argued that the quality of this lost, out of print record may play a big hand in its lifeless feel but since this is all we have, it is what it is, somewhat of a stinker.

Rating: 2/10