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"It’s important that people understand this is a group that Eminem is part of; it’s not just a side project."
——Steve Berman, Interscope Geffen A&R Head of Marketing & Sales
D-12’S MADE IN THE SHADY
Eminem’s Original Group Launches Rapper’s New Label On Interscope
Just call it the Slim Shady Empire.

Eminem launches his Shady Records/Interscope label with the group he started in, as fellow Motor City rappers D-12’s debut album, "Devil’s Night," hits retail June 19. The band includes the artist formerly known as Marshall Mathers and his longtime Detroit homies Swifty, Proof, Kuniva, Bizarre and Kon Artis. They formed the band six years ago, only to see Eminem break out with a solo deal.

"It’s more like an N.W.A. situation than Ice-T and Body Count," explains Eminem’s manager, Gotham ArtistsPaul Rosenberg. "These guys started out together, and vowed that the first one to get signed would come back to get the rest of them. Em’s just living up to that promise."

The group was featured on the rapper’s recent "Anger Management" and "Up in Smoke" tours, while Eminem touted the band’s release from the Grammy podium after accepting his award in February. Naturally, wherever the notorious rapper goes, controversy is sure to follow, and D-12 is no exception.

The first track to hit the "street" is the self-explanatory "I Shit on You," available on vinyl and CD, but not included on the U.S. release, though a download is being offered on the band’s website, www.d12online.com. The Parental Advisory-stickered album is peppered with such tales of drugs and depravity as "Fight Music," "Nasty Minds," "That’s How" and the title track—all are certain to make what little hair Senator Joe Lieberman has left stand on end.

A video has been shot for the first commercial single, "Purple Hills," directed by Joseph Kahn (who just did U2’s "Elevation" for "Tomb Raider"), which goes to MTV and BET this week. The track has been at Rhythm and Crossover Radio for two weeks and has already garnered almost 500 spins. A "clean, video" version of the single will be available commercially the day of album release.

Interscope Geffen A&M Head of Marketing & Sales Steve Berman says reaction is already building: "We are, of course, excited about anything Dr. Dre and Eminem have their hand in. Eminem has been working hard to set this album up for more than a year. We feel great about where it’s going. It’s important that people understand this is a group that Eminem is part of; it’s not just a side project."

The band’s name stands for Dirty Dozen, with their fans referred to as Dirtyheads. Dr. Dre produced three tracks on the album, while Eminem and the band’s Kon Artis (Denaun Porter) handled much of the rest. Eminem also served as the record’s executive producer.

D-12 heads out on the Warped Tour July 31-August 12, with Eminem promising to pop up at selected gigs based on his availability. They will also appear with Em at the Fuji Fest in Japan on July 29, then rejoin him for U.K. festival circuit appearances at Leeds, Glasgow and Reading in late August.

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