When Eminem introduced the world to D12, they became some of Detroit’s biggest rap stars. However, with Eminem actually being the the group himself, they’ve also had a hard time trying to step out of his large shadow. One member, however, to become the most memorable out of the six-man group — and the oddest, to say the least — has to be Bizarre.
The rapper, real name: Rufus Arthur Johnson, has been releasing projects as a solo act since 2005. And with his third album, titled Friday Night at St. Andrews, our man RedHands caught up with Bizarre to discuss a variety of topics. Everything from this early days with D12 and first memories of Eminem to his obsession with shower caps and the truth behind his lyrics … we covered it.
Check out the interview below, and cop Bizarre’s Friday Night at St. Andrews on May 18th when it drops!
BallerStatus.com: When D12 came on the scene, you guys had a hardcore, shocking style. How did you guys decide that was going to be your lane?
Bizarre: We were rapping like that for years before we got on. D12 was supposed to be like a wild, crazy, bad boys rap group. We had names like Dirty Harry and Slim Shady, and we just went with it.
BallerStatus.com: Out of the group, you probably have the most shocking bars. Where do you come up with the things you say in your rhymes?
Bizarre: My rap name is Bizarre and I am a bizarre person, so it all comes with the rap style.
BallerStatus.com: So your new album, Friday Night at St. Andrews, drops this month. I was looking at your features and I see Redman is on the album. how did that happen?
Bizarre: Redman is my boy man from back in the day when Marshall and me were trying to get a record deal. We moved to Newark, New Jersey for a while because it’s close to New York. Redman was associated with the Outsidaz, who are from Newark too, so I have known Redman for a while. I just got off tour with Redman, Method Man and Snoop Dogg. I had this track that sounded perfect for Red, so I hit him up and he got it done for me.
BallerStatus.com: I see you also got some newcomers on the album such as Nipsey Hussle and Yelawolf. Tell us about linking up with Yelawolf.
Bizarre: I stay down in Atlanta and I was working on my album. I heard a song he did with Raekwon and after that, I wanted to work with him. One of my homeboys knew his homeboy and he came to the studio one day. He brought a case of a beer and something to smoke on and we knocked the song out.
BallerStatus.com: Since he signed with Interscope and he’s a white guy, he is automatically going to get compared to Eminem. Do you see any similarities between Eminem and Yelawolf? Like maybe some star qualities they have in common?
Bizarre: Let me tell you something about Yelawolf. He is not Eminem and he’s not trying to be like Eminem. He is a country dude from a hick town in Alabama and he is himself. His music is who he really is and he’s totally different than Eminem. He is real dope though, and the lane he got nobody else has that right now or ever.
BallerStatus.com: Do you see him blowing up and becoming a star?
Bizarre: Yea he will definitely be a star.
BallerStatus.com: The album also has some veterans on it like Royce Da 5’9 and Tech N9ne. I heard you on satellite radio talking about your new single with Tech N9ne. The song is not usually your style or your direction. What made you go a different route and make a more positive uplifting song as your first single?
Bizarre: I just wanted to do something different man. I come from that hardcore scene in Detroit and my group. I didn’t want to go down in history as just a one type of rapper. I wanted to do something more serious for this album. I think what D12 has done is good and all, but we have been through so much that I have to make all different types of music.
BallerStatus.com: Do you have a favorite Bizarre line or verse?
Bizarre: To be honest I don’t really remember a lot of my raps. I get reminded by people all the time though (laughs). They come up to me all the time and say stuff to me. I must have said a lot of crazy sh** in my day because I hear it all the time from people.
BallerStatus.com: You have definitely killed a lot of the D12 songs. I think on the songs “Purple Pills” and “My Band,” you definitely did your thing. When you say, “50 told me to do sit-ups to get buff / I did 2 and a half and couldn’t get up”. It seems you are a funny dude off the mic as well.
Bizarre: Yea, all of us in D12 are pretty funny guys. Everyone is so serious all the time, so we like to joke around a lot. That’s what kills me about my group is we are the funniest guys, but we also have a lot of drama. That is our way of dealing with stuff.
BallerStatus.com: What is it like to be in the studio with D12?
Bizarre: We just have fun man and there is a lot of competition too. We always trying to out do each other. I may hear Swifty’s verse and say “Damn man I gotta say something crazier than that.”
BallerStatus.com: This is your third album, so what separates this from the rest?
Bizarre: My last album on Koch never really got a fair chance they didn’t care. They preach that independent $6 dollar an album sh**, but that’s bullsh**. I wanted to go a different route and do something more serious and show off my skills. With this album my boy runs the label, so I got to do what I wanted. I work with what producers I want, picked my first single and had total freedom.
BallerStatus.com: I read an interview that said Eminem’s song, “We Made You,” was originally your song. Is that true?
Bizarre: That song was for me at the time I was working on this album. This cat from Connecticut named Doc Ish sent me a song with a hook on it. I did the song and at the time Marshall was looking for a single. I guess he was stressed or the label was on his back, so I played him some of my joints. I played him that song and a few days later, he asked me about that song. He said he really needed it and I said I am not coming out for a minute. I said “F*** it, if you need it, go ahead and use it” … because that’s what homies do.
BallerStatus.com: That has to make you feel good about your craft. Not only did you pick the right song and Eminem used it, but also the song ended up being his come back single. That is a pretty big deal.
Bizarre: I mean, I never thought about it like that, but I am a team player. It was nothing to me to help him out. I helped him with the song “The Way I Am”. We are a group and a family, that’s what we do for each other.
BallerStatus.com: Yea, but you picked a hit record. That has to feel good for you.
Bizarre: I been doing that for a minute man, you know everybody knows that I am good at picking beats. I am good at putting songs together, so all those A&Rs out there, holler at Bizarre man. I know my sh**.
BallerStatus.com: What is the story behind “The Way I Am?”
Bizarre: That was originally my solo song for the D12 album. Eminem ended up liking the song a lot and re-doing it and it came out way better (laughs).
BallerStatus.com: Same beat and same chorus?
Bizarre: Yea, it was just supposed to be a solo song and I said “Yo man, you would definitely kill this song better than me.” He took my advice and it ended up being one of his biggest hits.
BallerStatus.com: Do you remember the first time meeting Eminem?
Bizarre: Yea, this white kid always came to the Hip Hop Shop back in the day. He was kind of a mystery man because he would only show up when there were battles. The battles were like once every three months, so he didn’t come around much. He would come with his hat brim real low and kill everyone in the battle, then come back three months later.
BallerStatus.com: Back then, there really wasn’t that many white rappers right?
Bizarre: Nah, I could count all the white rappers at the time on my one hand.
BallerStatus.com: So do you remember like your first actual conversation with Eminem?
Bizarre: Not really, I just remember him killing everyone in the battle.
BallerStatus.com: I asked a couple people on Facebook to see if they had any questions for you. The first question is: what started the whole shower cap thing?
Bizarre: I just wanted to be different from any other rapper. We had our first show at the Lyricist Lounge, and I wanted to wear something different on stage. In our dressing room we had a shower cap, so I put it on and went on stage. Everyone at the show thought I was crazy, so I wore it to the next show too. Then I had our road manager go out and buy a bunch of shower caps and I kept wearing them.
BallerStatus.com: The other question is kind of dumb but I am going to ask it anyway. This girl asked of you really smoke crack, if you got a pitbull pregnant, and if you really went down on your grand mom?
Bizarre: If she wants to know the answer to that, she is going to have to do a little more research on Bizarre. I will never reveal my secrets (laughs).
BallerStatus.com: She actually also said to ask if you need a place to stay next time your in Philly.
BallerStatus.com: Album comes out on May 18, but I heard you guys are working on a new D12 album?
Bizarre: Well D12 is going to be on the new Eminem album first of all. Then after Eminem’s album comes out, we’ll put out a new D12 album.
BallerStatus.com: You guys have some Proof verses that will be on there?
Bizarre: Definitely man, Proof will always be on any project that we put out.