Bizarre is generally thought of as D12’s funny man, the big shirtless guy in the shower cap at the front of the stage spitting profanity. However, after discovering what some fans thought of him on their blogs, he thought it was time to remind the public what he’s about and where he came from. Which is precisely why Bizarre’s latest effort, his third solo album, Friday Night at St Andrews, is focused on talent from his home town Detroit. D12 (aka Dirty Dozen) started out as battle MCs doing the Detroit circuit. They eventually established themselves as skilled lyricists; St Andrews was one of the notorious battleground spots. This is where Bizarre and D12 honed their craft. One thing that can be said for Bizarre is that he has a social conscience. Knowing that his success, and that of those he brings through, ultimately benefits not just them but Detroit as a whole. Here’s what he has to say.
When you were thinking about the concept for your third solo album, did you set out to get more Detroit-based artists involved? Or did it just happen naturally?
It kinda happened naturally. I’d been putting out feelers, saying that I was looking for beats for the new album. So I put the word out for new material. I’d heard about a lot of good producers around Detroit that I hadn’t met before. So I had to seek ’em out and then it just ended up happening.
Do you think that also gave your album a unique sound?
Yeah, it gave it a Detroit sound. I specifically wanted new beats that people hadn’t heard before. I wanted to pay homage to the ‘D’ and our hip hop scene that we created; Slum Village, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Obie Trice. All of us were a part of St Andrew’s.
Since being signed to an independent, has your musical journey been what you expected?
I’m still on the journey. I got with AVJ ’cos I was real cool with Bubba Sparxxx and his manager started this new label called AVJ Records. I’d known him for a long time and took the best opportunity. It’s enabled me to be in control of my destiny, not have the pressures of being on a big label and people telling you what to do. This is my chance to be my own boss.
Is creative freedom important to you?
Yeah, I like it because I got to choose all my singles, my own videos. I’m in control, without the politics of a major record label.
Do you think this will give your fans a clearer sense of what you’re about?
Yeah, it kinda explains stuff on there. I break issues down, things I went through to get a record deal. It gives you a wider picture of Bizarre. I’m not funny Bizarre all the time.
So you wanted people to take you more seriously?
Yeah, I definitely wanted that, ’cos it was time for it. I started reading a lot of blogs and didn’t like the image they were portraying of me. So I had to show them where I came from. D12 started as a group of battle MCs, that people respected all around the city.
Is the public perception important to you?
I’m being me. I’m a real person with real problems and issues, so they can take it however they want to take it. That’s part of being Bizarre, doing Bizarre things.
Do you still wear the shower cap?
I still wear the shower cap, I still do me. I can go in this direction or that direction.
So you keep them guessing?
That’s what a good artist is about!
Is the Detroit focus of the album a one-off?
Nah, I’m gonna keep on doing it, ’cos Detroit is a small outlet. We’re not a major city like Atlanta, LA or New York. I think it’s an obligation for all Detroit artists to put each other on, go back and get the next one and so on.
Friday Night at St Andrews is released on August 23.
For more info visit Bizarresworld.com
Interview by Natalie Vincent, photography by Jordan Roach