Friday, November 16, 2001

No-show Eminem hurts D12 show

Concert review

By Chris Varias
Enquirer contributor

        It seems hip-hop justice worked itself out as Eminem's star soars and his Detroit buddies D12 lag behind.

        D12, the rap collective who played to a sold-out Bogart's Thursday night, proved lacking in the elements that make Eminem interesting, namely controversial ideas packaged in never-before-heard narratives and a delivery that might be annoying but is definitely singular.

        Eminem hit it big with that formula. It's his name alone that provides D12 with any sort of cache. He's a member of the group, but he didn't appear at the show.

        He was missed. Without him, D12 has all the shock value with none of the comic relief.

        The rotating cast of rappers were all technically solid, and as Eminem knows well it takes more than that to set a rapper apart. And the material, basically presented as an hour-plus contest in shock one-upmanship, was less than compelling.

        The music, coming from a DJ, was a departure from Dr. Dre's snappy, playful production work for Eminem, and was just as effective. It was mostly just the sound of drums, nice and simple, with the occasional sound of a gun blast serving as the down beat.

        The Kottonmouth Kings, who proceeded D12, blew away the headliners with an hour-long set that never relented in its irreverence and its quick pace.

        If the Beastie Boys' music honors the hip-hop pioneers of their native New York, the Kottonmouth Kings are a direct reflection of what the hip-hop nation has come to be: a bunch of goof-off suburban kids. “Suburban life ain't what it seems,” chanted the band in its first song, but for anyone paying attention, they represent a big chunk of suburban teendom — white kids playing the thug role.

        Their version of thug is a lot more easy to embrace than D12's. The Kottonmouth Kings have one dominating illicit urge, and they're funny about it.

        The band's lone mission, which can perhaps be deduced from its name, is to tell the world how much they love smoking pot. They told a tale of getting pulled over by an Ohio trooper for “the Indo smoke.” Five minutes later, they boasted, “we was getting high again.”


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- No-show Eminem hurts D12 show
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