This May 18th, Bizarre from D12 will be dropping his latest album, Friday Nights At St. Andrews. Released on the Michigan emcee’s latest label, AVJ, the project’s title recalls a memorable Hip Hop experience from the days of the Detroit underground. “I think my favorite memory is just living to see the city of Detroit, [known for its] violence and crazy stuff going on, and just to walk into St. Andrews on a Friday night and let all your problems go, and just vibe out,” the emcee told HipHopDX late last week. “We had it set up to where there wasn’t no fights, wasn’t no violence – we all knew each other. It was a peaceful Hip Hop vibe.”

Located near the city’s Financial District, the venue was a key stage for many of Detroit’s would-be stars, including Slum Village, Royce Da 5’9″, D12 and a particular Toronto emcee that used to travel three hours to attend, Drake. Bizarre said he learned of this through Detroit’s biggest star, Eminem. “Drake used to come to St. Andrews, back in the day, on Friday nights. He was really good friends with Elzhi from Slum Village. I just found that out through [Eminem]. Marshall just told me that when I was in the studio with him.” Drake has referred back to Slum Village, Elzhi’s group, on his popular So Far Gone song “Fear” .

Channeling back to those times, Bizarre says that his May album reflects his memories of the weekend evenings at the venue. “Music is about emotion. It gives you a chance to escape what’s goin’ on around the real world. It’s a big part of that, to get into the studio and lay [Friday Night At St. Andrews] down, and out everything else behind.”

Friday Nights At St. Andrews has one track in particular that speaks to many aspiring emcees’ (and people in general), who attend function in hopes of discovery: “Believer” featuring Tech N9ne and Nate Walka. Bizarre explained, “You rarely hear people nowadays say, ‘This is what I want to do,’ and stick to it. They change their major, they change their jobs, they change where they’re going in life. With me, I’m just of them dudes, who from the beginning to the end, knew that music – rapping was what I wanted to do. A lot of people didn’t believe in me. I had to go through the struggles, trials and tribulations. I’m just lettin’ all the kids know, you could be a rapper or a doctor, or whatever you want to be. Just believe, and don’t give up. That’s what the song is about.”

As Bizarre remains a huge independent Rap success, it was through listening to his peers that made him seek Strange Music’s co-founder. “What made want me want to get Tech [N9ne] on the song was, he had a song [on K.O.D. called ‘Leave Me Alone’ ] that I liked a lot, that was getting a lot of [play] out here. When I heard that song, I said, ‘Oh snap. It sounds like he goin’ through a lot of emotions a lot of heartache in his life, and I can just hear the pain,’ in his single. He was perfect for the song.”

Bizarre connects with many of his peers. Royce, Redman, Nipsey Hussle and King Gordy appear on St. Andrews, but DX asked Bizarre about his friendship with Miami’s Rick Ross. “It came through a mutual friend, Doe, from Chicago. He’s been down with Triple C’s and Gunplay and them for a long time. [Coughs] That’s how I met Rick [Ross], through that avenue of the big homie Doe,” said Bizarre, who at one time, was believed to have signed Doe. “I’m just out and about everywhere, man. I’m here and there, in New York, [Philadelphia], everywhere. There’s not a lot of people who say they don’t know me or can’t get a line on me. People were saying the same thing about [Hannicap Circus], how I did a song with dead prez. We’re so much different from each other, but I just plug with everybody. I’m a good dude.”

As with Eminem, Proof and Mr. Porter, Bizarre says that he listens to a lot of Rap music, staying aware of new trends and talented artists. “I definitely keep my ear to the streets with what’s going on, and what up-and-coming artists [are making noise]. My thing is, I’m at the point at my career where there’s always gonna be the Drake’s and cats like that’s doing they thing. I like listening to cats that people ain’t really never heard of, or that really have an underground fan-base, so I can watch them blossom from the beginning to end.” As a product of this, Bizarre enlisted another DXnext artist (besides Hussle), Yelawolf, who just confirmed signing to Interscope Records, for Friday Nights At St. Andrews.

Stay tuned next week as Bizarre touches on more from his album, and his dealings with Canibus regarding a misconstrued song.

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