Detroit rap ensembles D12 and Natas have been kicked off this year's Warped Tour after a fight erupted between the two groups on August 3rd at the Tweeter Center in Camden, New Jersey.
According to the Camden Police Department, a police report was not filed because the Tweeter Center decided to take "administrative action against those parties," but a venue spokeswoman said that punishment was left up to tour organizers.
Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman would not elaborate on the decision other than to say that the matter was between Natas and D12, an Eminem side-project, though the Grammy Award-winning rapper was not involved in the fracas. Lyman added, "The Warped Tour is a world of thirty-two bands. Their worlds just didn't work with our world."
According to a spokeswoman at Natas' record label, Overcore Music, two tour buses and two fifteen-passenger vans pulled alongside Natas group members Esham Smith and Terry Jones, who perform under the names Esham and TNT. Smith said that between ten and fifteen men, including members of D12, jumped out of the vehicles and attacked the pair.
Calls to D12's management company were not returned. However, D12 member Proof posted a message on his band's Web site, www.D12World.com, admitting that he and his group mates engaged in a fight, but only after Smith provoked them by throwing items at D12's tour bus.
Smith, Natas' frontman, sustained a broken nose, bruised eardrum, a temporary loss of hearing, and multiple cuts and bruises, according his label's spokeswoman. Jones sustained multiple cuts and bruises. Camden's Virtua Health Center confirmed that both men were treated and released Friday.
The rivalry between the two Detroit-based groups has been well-documented in that region. Esham told the Detroit-area fanzine Murder Dog that the rivalry began when D12 opened for Lil' Kim in Detroit several years ago and Esham was attacked by a group of D12 associates after he was invited onstage and subsequently upstaged them. Though Esham admitted being flattered with Eminem once listed him as an influence, the two had a falling out after the latter allegedly criticized Esham's style on his second album. In speaking with Murder Dog, Esham called D12 the "the Village People of rap," and Eminem "a super bitch." In a song called "Chemical Imbalance" on Smith's latest solo CD Tongues, he makes reference to Eminem's daughter Hailie being in a coma.
However, both sides tried to make amends prior to D12 joining the Warped Tour on July 31st. "It doesn't matter if he was standing at the side of the stage flipping them off or anything," Overcore's spokeswoman said. "Not being on Warped for weeks, that doesn't hurt D12. They're paired with Eminem. But it's a big chance for independent artists like Esham to be on a big tour like this. They're the ones who started the violence and got him kicked off as a result."
The festival is scheduled to wrap up its jaunt August 12th at the Phoenix Plaza Amphitheater in Pontiac, Michigan. Lyman said that refunds may be available at the gate but it would be handled on a case-by-case basis.
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