D12 World (Shady Records)

May 26, 2004 at 4:00 am
The posse album is an enduring hip-hop tradition that shows little sign of going away -- no matter how hard we wish it would. No one actually believes that yawnfests from G-Unit, the St. Lunatics or D12 are better than anything issued by the rap superstars who made their existence possible, but they give the superstars in question platinum for their walls without the pressure that comes with a stand-alone release. The posse album is the musical equivalent of a pickup basketball game; there's little at stake, so there are few moments of greatness. The trick is to figure out which songs feature said superstar, then skim the remainder. D12 World gives Eminem an opportunity to have a little fun, but his work here lacks the resonance of his official recordings. D12's finest moment remains "Purple Pills," the wonderful and sloppy ode to pharmaceutical inebriation that sent the group's debut to the upper climes of the pop charts. As with that first effort, World gets tepid quickly when Eminem isn't around to liven up the proceedings. Rarely has a band tried so hard to be outrageous with such meager results. The throwaway title track is saved only by effervescent production touches from Kanye West. Tuneless dreck such as "U R the One" is simply beyond redemption. Eminem-heavy cuts such as "Git Up" and the winningly goofy single "My Band" are fun, but the just-don't-give-a-fuck attitude, the pervasive anger and the unyielding misogyny overwhelm the material until the music takes a back seat.