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"Usually MTV is leading the charge and radio is following suit, but it’s really worked well just the same."
——Shady Records VP/GM Paul Rosenberg
"PILLS" STILL POPPING FOR D12
Even Without Major MTV Support,
Album Keeps Buzzing
Despite Grammy protests, FCC fines, congressional inquiries and reluctance on the part of MTV to play their psychedelic video during daytime hours, the Eminem-fronted Detroit rap posse D12 continues to sell like E on the filthy street corner outside the mall where your teenage daughters shop.

We’d like to apologize for the foregoing contextually explicit drug reference. FCC Chairman Michael Powell has already contacted us to warn that if we don’t strike it from the record, his dad will come over and kick our dad’s ass.

Oops, there we go again. We’d like to apologize for the foregoing gratuitous use of the word "ass." It won’t happen again. We "promise."

Back to the matter at hand: D12’s "Devil’s Night" (Shady/Interscope), now in its fourth week on the charts, is holding up remarkably well, proving once again that rap records with hits like "Purple Pills" just don’t go away, with or without MTV.

In its first three weeks, "Devil’s Night" sold nearly three-quarters of a million units, immediately establishing D12 as a force to be reckoned with. More important, perhaps, is the fact that the album’s week-to-week sales have dropped more slowly than many other hip-hop records. For example, Jay-Z’s huge-selling "Dynasty" dropped 55% in its second week and nearly 37% in its third, a rate that’s fairly typical for rap albums. Even Eminem’s own "Marshall Mathers LP," which sold 1.76 million in its first week, fell by 54% in its second week and 25% in its third. But "Devil’s Night" has fared better than average, dropping 46% in its second week and just 13% in its third.

"It’s great, but it’s sort of the opposite of our plan and what has always worked for us with Eminem," notes Shady Records VP/GM Paul Rosenberg. "Usually MTV is leading the charge and radio is following suit, but it’s really worked well just the same."

MTV has been understandably cautious with the D12 video, despite the fact that Shady/Interscope offered up an edited version with the de-drugged alternate title "Purple Hills." Given the heat coming from Capitol Hill, including Sen. Joe Lieberman sniffing around MTV’s "Jackass"—not to mention Eminem’s run of negative publicity on the misogynist/ homophobic fronts—the channel’s position isn’t surprising.

But MTV has started to come around. It gave the clip a token six overnight spins last week, but Monday (7/16) marked the first daytime spin, on "Direct Effect," which should continue to play it, according to Rosenberg.

In the meantime, there’s no hesitation at the cash registers. "We’re thrilled with the way the record’s performing," says Interscope Marketing and Sales guru Steve Berman. "There’s this real vision and joint execution between Shady and Interscope, driven by Eminem and Paul. Our intention was to introduce this group, then build on the strength of the material on the record, and we think that’s what people are buying into now."

Rosenberg says the next D12 single may be "Fight Music," which is featured in John Carpenter’s upcoming "Ghosts of Mars," starring Ice Cube.

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