Best known as the Detroit hip-hop crew which helped kick-start the career of Eminem, D12 went on establish a unique brand of cartoonish, leftfield rap in the early 2000s, scoring two US number one albums. At a time when rap music in Michigan was completely unheralded, the collective grew from open mic nights held at a clothing store named the Hip Hop Shop, with MC Proof gathering together the stand-out talents from the scene to mould them into a more formal group in 1994. Taking their name from a reference to the movie The Dirty Dozen, they modelled themselves on crews like Wu Tan Clan and steadily began building a loyal underground following thanks to their notorious rap battle events. Eminem was quickly identified as the scene's biggest star, but when he headed off to Los Angeles to work with Dr Dre, the rest of the crew continued to hone D12 into quirky, leftfield rap mavericks with alter egos and surreal skits. When Eminem grew into a global superstar he remained loyal to his old friends, featuring them on his records (including his chart-topping album 'The Marshal Mather LP' and signed the group to his label Shady Records. Tragedy struck in 1999 when 21-year-old Bugz (Karnail Pitts) was killed in a drive-by shooting, but the murder united the crew even more strongly and Eminem became an official member alongside newly recruited Swifty McVay on debut album 'Devil's Night' in 2001. The album topped the US charts and the single 'Purple Pills' became their big hit anthem, reaching number two in the UK and Proof and Bizarre soon launched solo careers in their own right. The single 'My Band' was another big calling card for the group, and they again topped the US and UK charts with second album 'D12 World' in 2004, but tragedy struck again when Proof was shot dead by his cousin during a drunken dispute in 2006. The group continued with mixtapes 'Return of the Dirty Dozen' in 2008 and 'Return of the Dirty Dozen Vol.2' in 2011, but a planned third album was scrapped and the band's output was subsequently limited.

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Stations Featuring D12

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