Adam Graham / Detroit News Pop Music Writer
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Bizarre, the portly D12 rapper and ex-“Celebrity Fit Club” star, is sitting in a Southfield recording studio where he’s finishing mixing his second solo album, “Blue Cheese & Coney Island.”
Next to him is a bag from greasy fast-food chain Wendy’s, which begs the question if he’s fallen off the “Fit Club” wagon.
“Oh, that’s not mine,” he says, laughing. “At least not for the paper it’s not.”
Bizarre — real name Rufus Johnson — may never be skinny, and truth be told, his fans probably wouldn’t want him to be. His oversized, tattooed stomach — which has become as much his signature as his shower cap and shocking, anything-goes rhymes — will likely be on full display when he celebrates the release of “Blue Cheese” tonight at U.S. 12 in Wayne.
The title of “Blue Cheese & Coney Island” refers to Bizarre’s dual worlds. One is Atlanta, where he moved four years ago and where blue cheese is a preferred dipping sauce for chicken wings, and the other is Detroit, where Coney Islands are on every corner.
Bizarre says the album, which hit stores this week, showcases his more serious side, though it still makes plenty of room for his over-the-top raps. On “Sex Tape,” he raps about having made, well, sex tapes with just about every star under the sun.
But there’s also tracks like “So Hard,” where Bizarre talks about moving on in the wake of the death of fellow D12 member Proof, who was gunned down at a Detroit nightclub in April 2006.
Bizarre says the album, which was recorded in Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, wasn’t supposed to be released until after D12’s third album was released. But with that project on hold — it won’t be released until after Eminem’s next album, and when that will materialize is anyone’s guess — Bizarre saw a chance to release an album and took it.
“People want to hear from us, and they ain’t heard from us in a long time,” says Bizarre, whose last album with D12 was 2004’s “D12 World.” “People want to know what we’re doing. They can consider this album as a pre-game warmup.”
Biz says the next D12 album is close to being finished, but Eminem has yet to record for it. As for when it will be released, “I have no idea. It’s outside of my control. It could be March, it could be May. Who knows?”
Despite living in Atlanta, Bizarre says he still spends roughly half his time in Detroit, and he says he and his D12 brethren need to stay productive with or without Eminem.
“We’ve gotta hold each other down,” he says. “We can’t sit around and wait on (Eminem) to tell us when to do something, we gotta get out here and take advantage of it and do it ourselves.”
You can reach Adam Graham at (313) 222-2284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.