If you think that Eminem and his D12 fellows are just friends for the show, then you are totally wrong.
Besides Hailie and Nathan, Eminem considers his D12 members as a part of his family:
“They’re my foundation. If I lose my foundation, then what do I have? Just to be by myself on a big-ass mountain, a little lonely rich bastard? Not only are these guys my friends, I don’t trust nobody new that I meet. At all.”
D 12 is, above all, a story of loyalty, as Kuniva points it out:
‘There’s a million things Em could be doin’ besides doin’ an album with D12, but we’re the only real friends he has. We grew up together, lived together, flipped burgers together. We used to just sit on the porch and drink and think about hip-hop, think about makin’ it. There’s a bond there that nobody can break. And there’s a whole thing with him feelin’ like he owes it to us to do it. He knows without D12 there wouldn’t be a Slim Shady.”
Slim Shady needs his fellows as much as they need him. In fact, Marshall owes a lot to his friends too.
At the time he was working with Mike Ruby and some other white friends, people didn’t focus much attention on him. They had been disappointed by white rapper Vanilla Ice and they just didn’t want to hear another similar white rapper.
Marshall had a point to prove to black people in particular: he had to prove that he could rap.
And to be able to prove that he could rap, he had to battle black folks in lyrical battles and to defeat them.
Marshall became credible when he started battling his friends and other black men at the Hip Hop shop that was located at 7 Mile Road. Eminem has also spent a lot of time rhyming with his friends during his sparetime. They have been sharing their passion for hip hop, but also their dreams, pains and sorrows.
They still like playing with words, but Marshall recalls ancient times we can feel his nostalgy:
‘Proof would call me at one, two o’clock in the morning with just syllables, like, ‘Yo, an abominable region, an abdominal lesion.’ That’s how we fed off each other back in the day. Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Kool G Rap, whoever did syllables, we just locked on to them. That’s what my loyalty dates back to, the days of living on fuckin’ Dresden, on the East Side, in my kitchen wishin’ we could do something. From kids to now, we’re living the dream.”
In the early 90’s, the D12 were known as the hottest emcees in Detroit:
“We were, like, the best MCs in Detroit. It was like, ‘Yo, whoever get on first and get a deal, come back and get everybody else.’ “(Bizarre)
When Eminem got signed by Dr Dre, he immediatly wanted to get his friends from D12 to be part of the contract, being faithful to the promise he had made to his crew. Bizarre remembers when Eminem called three weeks after being signed by Dr Dre:
‘He went to Cali and called us three weeks later from a pay phone. He said, ‘Yo, I just signed with Dr. Dre. I need y’all to come out here.’
Marshall immediatly insisted for his producer to sign his friends too:
” ‘This is my boys! D12!’
But Dr Dre wanted him to build his own career first: ‘Wait a minute – it’s about you. Build your house before you have your friends walk in it.’
The D12 team is also ruled by simplicity. They don’t spend their money on expensive chains, because they are much more focused on their families which honors them:
‘Nobody’s bling is like, wow, like a rapper’s supposed to be, because we kinda value the money a little bit more. We got families. I can’t get out and spend $ 30.000 on a chain. That would be irresponsible on my part.. I like to spend my money on my family, take a nice vacation and stay in a nice hotel. I can’t even think of the last time I went to the store and spent $ 1000 on the shit I wanted.’ (Bizarre)
Slim Shady and his fellows have a lot in common, but their passion for rap keeps the flame alive:
‘One night, I remember, we had just left Alvin’s. It was probably like a year before I got signed with Dre. Swift pulled up in the car and he was like, ‘Don’t you feel like even if we never got deals that we could just rap forever?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I do.’ We knew we had to make it, but if we didn’t, we knew we’d still be rapping. It was in our blood.” (Eminem)
Knowing Eminem and his fellows love for rap, we know that he is speaking the truth.