D12 D12 World

On "My Band,” D12 tackles the uneven dichotomy between Marshall Mathers and his hometown crew, freeing them from the self-justifying posturing that weighed down their middling debut (though their label bio still laughably claims "when D12 is in the house, he’s just another group member.”) On their own, Kuniva, Swift, Kon Artis and Proof remain relatively interchangeable — though the aptly-titled Bizarre (so fat he "wears a Wonderbra”) steals every second he’s given with pure freak-show-ery. Em keeps his on-mic presence to a minimum (though he naturally leads the addictive self-produced singles "My Band” and "Git Up”) but every cameo still serves to make his homies sound that much blander — despite the fact that he’s testing out flows and clearly saving his interesting rhymes for his own work. Em’s productions are still hit-and-miss, but he’s backed up by Dr. Dre (who kills with the B-Real-assisted "American Psycho II”) and even, weirdly, Kanye West, who produced the violin-laden title track. It’s a disposable summer album, sure, with cartoonishly offensive lyrics and over-the-top beats — but it’s hella better than G-Unit. (Interscope)