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D-12 World (Interscope)

This is, quite simply, an album to make Eminem defenders hang their heads. He may joke about being "the lead singer in D-12" -- the first single, "My Band," implies that he and his bandmates are really equals, despite what everyone thinks -- but D-12 World is ultimately his turd and deserves flushing.

The Detroit sextet's 2001 debut suggested that Slim Shady planned to treat the group as an undeclared homage to Motor City madmen like Esham, a horror-flick holiday from any subject matter too complex. But at least Devil's Night was noteworthy for its revelation that Eminem could be as good behind the boards as on the mic. Here, he excels in neither department; his half-dozen productions are pale imitations of vintage Dre -- save for the fuzz-bass groove of "Get My Gun," they're all ominous atmosphere and no beef -- and the rhymes are weak enough to trigger an office party among Em's enemies at The Source. Those failures leave his partners, including the underrated Kon Artis, sounding slightly better than usual -- but the G-Unit-style hip-pop perversion of "U R the One" and "40 Oz," which jumps aboard the crowded crunk bandwagon, show that a D-12 World without a fully engaged Marshall Mathers is D-pressingly similar to everyone else's.

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September 23, 2020

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