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Review Devils Night

Devils Night on 06-19-2001

Yes, Eminem is only one-sixth of the hip-hop posse D12. Yes, he's said the story of this album is the other five guys--his Motown homies, whom he's using his fame to try to help. But while Proof, Kon Artis, Swift, Bizarre, and Kuniva show they've definitely got the skills to pay the bills on D12's debut outing, it's hard to avoid focusing on Slim Shady, who worked the boards for much of the album and still dominates the mic when his singsong vocals take a turn.

As a producer, Eminem shows he's learned well from mentor Dr. Dre (even though the two most impressively Dre-like track
s were actually helmed by Kon Artis, a.k.a. Denaun Porter). Devil's Night features a number of inventive riffs on DreÆs still-potent G-Funk, from the hardcore "Pistol Pistol" to the rich, keyboard-driven haze of "Purple Pills." But itÆs the rhymes most folks want to know about, and here there are signs Slim has painted himself into a corner. Outrageousness still works when he and the crew are playing for laughs--as when they shred a parade of pop icons on "Ain't Nuttin' But Music." But when they go for the chill of classic Eminem cuts like "Kim," they come up short. After hearing that scarifying track, it's a little hard to get wound up by tunes like "American Psycho," which carries more bluster than menace. A pretty impressive outing, on the whole, but the scariest thing about it may be a question it raises: what does Mr. Mathers do next?

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