D12's palest member probably won't show for the gig.
J. Mannion

It's nearly impossible to talk about without mentioning him, you know, Eminem.

It's the curse of every rap clique with an MC who breaks out before they do. They immediately are relegated to "the crew." They become that bunch of potnas, homies and road dogs patiently waiting for their chance at the mike. All the superstar MCs have, or have had, a "crew": Tupac had Thug Life. Biggie Smalls had Junior M.A.F.I.A. Recently, Nelly introduced audiences to his St. Lunatics team. So it's fitting that rap's Great White Hope would have his own band of brothas.

It's likely that the five other members of this schizophrenic six-man outfit (each member possesses two personae, conceptually making the group a dozen) would like to be judged on their own merits rather than be seen as some Motor City moochers riding their famous buddy's jock to the top of the charts. But make no mistake, these cats are just as raucously raunchy as their colleague. Following the same path of debauched decadence as their star member, the men of D12 enthusiastically toss out a flurry of nihilistic, gleefully offensive jabs. Unlike Eminem, though, D12 jabs without conviction. They leave you more perturbed than punch-drunk.


D12 with Kottonmouth Kings, Bionic Jive and Sunny Ledfurd

Numbers, 300 Westheimer

Thursday, November 1; 713-629-3700

D12 just doesn't know when to quit. Listening to the crew's debut, Devil's Night, is like listening to an Ol' Dirty Bastard album without the loony charm. The utterly gluttonous CD chokes on its own repetitive immorality. Jesus, how many times can you talk about how slutty and bitchy you think women are without getting bored? Mind you, it's not that Eminem, who drops in here and there on the album, does a much better job at it. It's just another case of folks being shocking for the sake of being shocking, which D12 freely admits. As one says at the beginning of the album, "We just like saying shit like that just to fuck wit'cha!" It would be nice if these guys at least believed their own bullshit.

If you're looking for Slim Shady himself to be on stage alongside his posse at this show, the chances for that are, well, slim. He made the introduction; now it's time for his boys to carry out the rest of the presentation. Sans Mr. Mathers, don't be surprised if these guys end up being -- to borrow a phrase from Richard Linklater's new movie Waking Life -- all theory and no action.

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