Chart-topping rap outfit D12 has been thrown off the Warped Tour after a brutal assault on Detroit rap rivals Esham and T.N.T. The incident occurred last Friday during a tour stop in Camden, N.J., lea
Chart-topping rap outfit D12 has been thrown off the Warped Tour after a brutal assault on Detroit rap rivals Esham and T.N.T. The incident occurred last Friday during a tour stop in Camden, N.J., leaving T.N.T. with bruises and cuts, and Esham with a broken nose, a ruptured eyeball, a concussion, and hearing damage to his left eardrum. Esham, T.N.T., and Mastamind, who perform under the name Natas, have also been ejected from the tour, which D12 had joined just three days before the incident.
Speaking from the Detroit office of his label, Overcore Records, Esham tells Billboard.com that a mob of some 40 of D12 friends and associates jumped off the group's tour bus and began the backstage attack, kicking he and T.N.T. in the head and pelting them with rocks. Esham lays the blame directly at the hands of Eminem (real name: Marshall Mathers), who is a member of D12 but was not a part of the tour or the incident.
No charges or arrests have been filed at deadline, but an Overcore spokesperson says lawyers are in contact with the Camden police department.
"Mathers gave the word," Esham alleges. "He didn't even show up for the tour. That's how premeditated this was. This was a straight up attempted murder on my life. I could have been dead." Concerned at the size of D12's entourage, Esham says he began filming the group with his video camera just minutes before the attack, and hopes the footage can be used to identify individual attackers in court.
The incident is apparently the culmination in an ongoing war of words between the Esham and Eminem camps, waged on Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP" and Esham's "Tongues" album.
"It got this bad because those guys idolize us," Esham says of Eminem and D12. "They emulate everything we do. Eminem has animosity toward us because we're his favorite rap group. We don't agree with some of the things they say, so we speak upon that. It stems from that. I don't know what country they think we live in, but you can't just go around doing this sh*t."
Esham is equally stunned that he was kicked off the tour for doing nothing more than defending himself. "We got kicked off for defending ourselves, which is totally horrendous," he says. "[D12] was 100% in the wrong. Even now they're sending E-mails and death threats to us."
In a statement, D12 said, "On Friday Aug. 3, an incident occurred backstage at the Warped Tour, spurred by D12's concern for the safety of their guests. Both D12 and the other party involved have been asked to leave the tour. Eminem was home in Detroit and not on tour with D12 when the incident took place."
A D12 spokesperson says the group hopes to return to the road as soon as possible. D12's Shady/Interscope album "Devil's Night" is No. 3 on The Billboard 200 in its sixth week on the chart.
The spokesperson also refutes Esham's claim that Eminem purposefully avoided the tour, noting that the rapper had planned to make a surprise appearance with D12 in New York on Saturday, but the group had already been ousted from the trek.