“Under the Influence” by Eminem (ft. D12)
Anyone familiar with D12’s style would likely agree that it appears to have been heavily influenced by the come-up of Eminem. It was through Slim Shady that they got their big break. Just being featured on a single Eminem song back in those days could be a career changer – just ask Dido! And Marshall did well by granting D12, who was otherwise unknown at the time, the opportunity to represent on a number of his earlier projects.
Lyrics of “Under the Influence”
The reason that’s being pointed out is because all things considered, there really isn’t much value delving too deeply into what’s being put forth here. Eminem stands out on any D12 track he is on as an outstanding lyricist, and so is the case with “Under the Influence”. So then for the other vocalists it becomes more of a game, if you will, of not being outshone.
And again, they are compelled to comply with his standard. So perhaps pre-Shady, D12 was more akin to a standard gangsta-rap act. But with songs such as this one which are in fact featured on Eminem’s album, it appears they were also tasked with proving that they can be just as lyrically deranged as Marshall is.
For instance, we have Swifty expressing a willingness to “fight” his rivals “even at the Million Man March”, which was a historical African-American peace rally. Kuniva illustrates various ways in which he intends to physically assault or kill rivals. Kon Artis presents himself as a former weed dealer – that is until he “got caught selling” bad product. Meanwhile we have Bizarre – the most-unorthodox of the crew, even when you include Eminem – stating that he masturbates “in a bed of barbed wire” and all types of other crazy sh*t. And even Proof, who has the mainstream-standard verse of them all, deviates for a moment to put forth that he ‘snatched Shaq’s chain’.
Highlight of “Under the Influence”
The entire piece is highlighted by Eminem, in the chorus, letting the listening audience know that they ‘can suck his d**k’ if they don’t approve of his music, and by extension we can say that of his homeys. Furthermore, as implied by the title, the D12 crew is supposed to be “under the influence” of, presumably, hard drugs and booze. Such may not literally be the case for all of them (though there are references to both found in the lyrics). But that is the motif the band is operating under – once again, we have to believe, as inspired by the image Eminem was portraying at the time, i.e. The Marshall Mathers LP as a whole.
D12 is the name of a turn-of-the-century rap crew from Detroit which Eminem was actually a part of when this track was dropped on 23 May 2000. However, the reason they’re listed as a featured performer is because “Under the Influence” appears on Em’s album, that being “The Marshall Mathers LP”. Moreover, Slim Shady was by far the most-popular member of the outfit, and it was his success that actually put D12 on the map.
D12 is a stylistic abbreviation of “the Dirty Dozen”, which is the crew’s name in full. But at peak membership, i.e. during the time this song came out, the group was six-seven members deep. Besides Eminem the other five bandmates, in succession as they appear on this song, were Swifty McVay, Bizarre, Proof (1973-2006), Kuniva and Kon Artis.
D12 managed to put out a couple of studio albums during the early-aughts, both of which were critical and commercial successes. However, Proof was murdered shortly thereafter which, according to Eminem, marked the official end of the act. However, since then, they have released a couple of mixtapes and tried to make a full-fledged comeback during the mid-2010s.
Credits for “Under the Influence’
Eminem, Swifty McVay, Proof, Bizarre, Kuniva and Kon Artis (currently under the name Denaun) are credited as the writers of this song alongside Mark Bass and Jeff Bass. And it is also the Bass Brothers who produced “Under the Influence” with Eminem.