Now that the dust has settled on Heatwave fiasco, festival headliners and all round nice dudes D12 are spending a day or two in a pleasantly cool hotel room on the Gold Coast “chilling back, watching the depressing rain” in preparation for their two-state East Coast tour. Taking in eight Queensland shows and three Victorian, the D12 tour is shaping up to be a much more intimate affair than the Heatwave tour had hoped to be. Long-time members Swifty McVay and Kuniva were pragmatic about their experience in Australia this time around.
It was way back in 2004 that D12 last visited, touring their second record D12 World. “Yeah, yeah,” intone two velvet voices before Swifty takes the lead: “2004 was great – we was able to do about four or five places but what’s so dope about us coming back is we get to hit places we never hit before.
2004’s Devil’s Night was a while ago. Where’s the new recoooord? “It’s on it’s waaaaaay,” sings Swifty. “We working, we working, we constantly working on the new album, trying to get it popping before this year’s out. Which it should be. We gotta do a lot of regrouping; working things out, you know, but we back recording and everything’s good. We happy and ready to come back out with new material. We ready to come back out here to take the country by STORM! YEAH!”
It goes without saying that it can be difficult to pin down Eminem for D12 collaborations these days. The fact that D12 press photographs feature only Swifty, Kuniva, Bizarre, Kon Artist and Fuzz Scooter is basic enough confirmation that Slim Shady is not on the ground for D12 albums like he once was.
“Well, Em, we work with Em – we let him hear songs,” says Kuniva. “But he’s very, very busy himself, you know, so we just let him hear songs and he vibe on ’em. If he done feel what we brought, he’ll jump on it, you know what I’m saying, and we just keep it rolling like that.”
Even so, getting five guys together – particularly when they are constantly working on solo works and other projects – should sometimes prove difficult. Right? Kuniva fields this one, too: “Well, we all got a passion for music and we always wanna be in the studio creatin’ so as soon as everyone’s ready we all on board. Unless we got something real personal to deal with, well, we can always make it. We can always find time to get together and do the do. All somebody gotta do is just say the word and we there.”
They are no strangers to work – they are barely getting a day off between shows for this next run. “Well,” says Swifty, “That’ what we like. We’re workaholics. We like staying busy and we like having fun.”
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It’s a long way to come for just a few shows. “The flight down to Australia is worth it,” says Kuniva, with the sounds of Swifty agreeing in the background. Kuniva continues, “The whole vibe down here is outstanding, you know. We come down here any chance we get. It’s not even considered working, ’cause we love what we doing.”
Well, we must talk about Heatwave. Silence. Then, as Kuniva asks, “Which part about it?” Swifty hollers with a laugh: “We didn’t do anything wrong!” I give them the elevator speech on the ongoing festival overload debate and the overarching idea that hip hop promoters seem to have a tough time in the Australian market. D12 though seem to always have a successful, fun experience. Maybe it’s us? Laughter breaks out in the Gold Coast hotel room. “Oh man, I don’t know,” laughs Kuniva. “I mean, what happened with us, it was just workin’ with Immigration and getting the paperwork done and we were ready to go. We were here.”
And when they did get here, well, they’ve got nothing untoward to report about Heatwave: “It was pretty dope,” says Swifty. “It was a great crowd.” Kuniva agrees, “They embraced us real good. We had fun just like 2004, you know what I’m sayin’, everything went real well. It was fun. We were hanging out with Techn9ne, Obie Trice…it was good catching up all those guys, kicking it and having fun.”
Certainly, there were people who were disappointed to have missed the Detroit collective in Adelaide but the band are happy to take the heat off Heatwave for that incident. “We don’t have anything bad to say [about Heatwave]. It was just paperwork holding us up and once we got that all done, we was over here. That’s all that was.”