A rivalry with a fellow Detroit-based group known as Natas began in the late 1990s, when D12 opened for Lil' Kim at her Detroit show. It is alleged that Natas band member Esham Smith was attacked by a group of D12 associates after he was invited onstage and subsequently outperformed them. Initially, D12 member Eminem was on good terms with Natas, but the two had a falling out when he criticized Esham's second album. In speaking with Murder Dog, Esham responded to D12 calling them "the Village People of rap", Eminem "a super bitch", and making reference to Eminem's daughter, Hailie, being in a coma on the track "Chemical Imbalance". D12, in turn, responded with the song "Instigator", dissing Natas, while Proof made two diss tracks aimed specifically at Esham, "Every Sucker Has a Moment" and "Uh Huh", though the latter was not released. Both sides tried to make amends prior to joining the Warped Tour 2001. However a fight was provoked after Esham allegedly threw items at D12's tour bus. Smith sustained a broken nose, bruised eardrum, a temporary loss of hearing, and multiple cuts and bruises according to his label's spokeswoman. Natas member Mastamind sustained multiple cuts and bruises. Both groups were removed from the Warped Tour line up, and banned from ever performing at the festival again.

Around the time of Eminem's first record deal, Proof attempted to revive D12. He managed to recruit local Detroit hip hop duo Da Brigade, composed of Kuniva, a local MC, and Mr. Porter, a longtime friend of Eminem and Proof. At the time, Porter was the group's producer (he later produced Eminem's first album, Infinite ), but Kuniva persuaded him to join the group as an artist. Later the group was joined by Bugz, and Bugz introduced his longtime friend Swift, who at the time was a member of rap duo Da Rabeez. [ citation needed ]

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