If one bad apple spoils the whole bunch, then Eminem's in trouble. His fellow D12 members--Kon Artis, Bizarre, Proof, Swifty and Kuniva--are dramatically inferior to their star colleague on the group's disappointing debut album (in stores Tuesday). While Eminem uses wit, venom and energy to make his work remarkable, the other rappers in D12 employ awkward raps that lack the spunk, authority and humorous edge typical of Eminem's lyrics. Bizarre, for instance, drains almost all of the energy from a track when he starts delivering his stilted, lackadaisical raps.
The group features the kind violence and profanity that made Eminem the target of protests, but it can't push this agenda along, or at least make it entertaining, as Eminem did with "The Marshall Mathers LP." Instead, songs such as "Fight Music" and "That's How" come off as elementary, profanity-laced capers that could have been delivered by any number of mid-range rap crews.
Surprisingly, even Eminem loses some of his potency. He seems dragged down by his lyrically clumsy chums, turning in his weakest performance since emerging as a star two years ago.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted