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Bizarre steps forward into spotlight

Eminem's pal talks about going solo, eating paper and crazy questions
/ Source: The Associated Press

He’s not in the back any more.

Bizarre has a solo album. He’s on the Anger Management Tour with patron saint Eminem and his group D12, with whom we first heard Bizarre complain about life as a backup on the hit single “My Band.” And if you’ve seen the video, you know Bizarre is a “Rock Star.”

The rotund, shower-capped rapper born Rufus Johnson spoke to The Associated Press about eating toilet paper, giving rides to carjackers and what his tombstone will read.

AP: What’s the best way that your new album, “Hannicap Circus,” reflects you?

Bizarre: There’s more insight about me. Like people don’t know more than the crazy entertainer. It’s Bizarre and Rufus Johnson. When you’re in a group sometimes you don’t get a chance to say everything. So this album is really emotional.

AP: That’s an interesting album title. Can you admit what your biggest handicap is?

Bizarre: I chew paper.

AP: Paper? What’s that about?

Bizarre: It calms my nerves, so I chew toilet paper. It’s definitely a habit, but not consistent though. I probably do it once every two or three hours.

AP: Oh yeah, that’s real inconsistent. How did you start chewing paper?

Bizarre: I don’t know. I been doing that since I was 10 or 12. (Laughs.) I don’t swallow it. I just leave little specks around the house. My wife hates it.

AP: Yuck! What brand do you like to chew?

Bizarre: It don’t matter. But I like overseas tissue. It’s kind of real thick.

AP: Does living up to your bizarre, crazy image ever get difficult?

Bizarre: Yeah sometimes, people expect it from me 24 hours a day. And then they see you they ask the craziest questions. Like I had someone ask me if I wanted to smoke crack. They just really believe in what you say. When (D12) was in Philly, the police had to come get one dude cause he would not leave until I came off the bus. He was like, ’I want to see Bizarre! I want to see Bizarre!’

AP: It must be your wild lyrics. On your songs, you talk about STDs a lot. Is that your way of admitting your run-ins with STDs?

Bizarre: Nah. An STD is like one of the foulest things you can say. One of the foulest things people can have. I guess I just like saying it. Like I said, ‘I got two lesbians with full blown AIDS.’ You can’t get no worse than that.

AP: Now that you’re solo, do you prefer a being in a group or being alone?

Bizarre: I prefer both. But they have ups and downs. Being solo you have more creative control over your album. More control period. A group has benefits because I didn’t have to always talk all the time. You can lay low. It’s less work, really. Other people cover for you. Sometimes I get sick of being in a group and sometimes I get sick of being solo.

AP: Are you nervous about being solo?

Bizarre: You know, we’re a real successful group. So it’s more pressure cause I want my solo to be as successful as the D12 album.

AP: As a child, how did you unknowingly prepare for your solo career?

Bizarre: Started off with talent shows. I used to do them in my elementary and junior high school. In high school, I always was an entertainer. I was rappin’ in a little group but was always kind of the leader.

AP: What’s the most bizarre thing that’s happened to you that you’ll always talk about?

Bizarre: When I was 10, I went to the store with my mom’s boyfriend and this dude carjacked us. He made us drop him off at his sister’s house, cause he was gettin’ chased by a whole precinct. So we drove him to his sister’s.

AP: Were the cops following y’all?

Bizarre: They didn’t know he was with us. They were looking for him.

AP: Wow, what does something like that do to you?

Bizarre: I don’t think about it a lot. I think it affected my mother more than me.

AP: Which handicap do you want to change?

Bizarre: Hmm. None. I like me.

AP: So what do you want your tombstone to read?

Bizarre: Rufus Johnson. The paper eater.