Detroit's Most Wanted (DMW) surfaced during the early-'90s gangsta rap phenomenon and faded away in the mid- to late '90s once the hoopla simmered. Similar to the countless other niche market-orientated gangsta rap start-ups of the time, the group was essentially a Detroit-style NWA: The members rapped about violence, drugs, sex, and anything else with shock value over West Coast-style beats. DMW released a number of LPs throughout the '90s, averaging around one release every year. Bryant Records released the albums, going through a number of small distributors. Despite the group's productivity, DMW never attained much commercial success, and the little success the group had was confined to the Midwest, for the most part.
It's perhaps no surprise DMW struggled for sales given the myriad other gangsta rap groups flooding the streets during the early to mid-'90s. DMW didn't have anything particularly novel to offer listeners, and the group's name automatically inspired comparisons to Compton's Most Wanted and Philly's Most Wanted. The group's lack of creativity when it came to choosing a name is fairly synonymous with the group's artistic approach -- DMW were better at emulating than creating. And they weren't very good at that, either. While other Detroit gangsta rappers from the time like Natas and ICP traded gangsta rap for horror rap and rap/metal once the style went out of style in the late '90s, DMW didn't. Consequently, the group's career came to an end. Few remember the group -- except perhaps for "Money Is Made" and "Pop the Trunk" -- and DMW's many albums quickly went out of print and remained so. ~ Jason Birchmeier