D12 rapper Proof killed in shooting at afterhours nightclub

April 11, 2006

Rapper Proof of the rap group D12, one of the key figures on the Detroit hip-hop scene, was shot and killed this morning at an after-hours club on Eight Mile, police said.

Proof, whose real name is Deshaun Holton, was dead on arrival at Conner Creek Medical Center in Detroit, according to a spokeswoman for St. John Health System. He was 32.

Proof was among the most pivotal players in Detroit hip-hop, and revered as one of the battle rappers in the city — the man who would handle anyone who dared to challenge him in a war of words. He befriended Eminem long before he was a houshold name, and was a nearly constant presence as the rapper rose to superstardom.

Proof was friends with many of the top Detroit hip-hop DJs, radio personalities, rappers and producers. A number of them were planning to gather with his family at the hospital this morning, including Eminem, Obie Trice and Marv Won from the Detroit group the Fat Killahz.

An unidentified 35-year-old man, who was shot along with Proof, is in critical condition at Detroit’s St. John Hospital.

Police were called to the shootings around 5 a.m, following reports of a fight and shots fired. The club where the shooting occurred is called 3C, and it’s at 8 Mile near Hayes. The venue isn’t illegal but it was operating illegally after hours.

In the mid-’90s, Proof’s Saturday afternoons were spent hosting rap battles at the famed Hip Hop Shop on Seven Mile Rd., a role that would be fictionalized by actor Mekhi Phifer in 8 Mile, the Hollywood blockbuster film in which he Proof also played a bit part.

Proof was a steady hand for Detroit’s then up-and-coming hip-hop scene. It was his idea to assemble a collection of Detroit’s best hip-hop talent and call it D12; it was his hand that helped push Eminem to become one of the world’s biggest pop stars, including serving as his on-stage hype man on concert tours.

After the release of “8 Mile,” when battle rap was gaining newfound commerical exposure, Proof was hired to host a national search for the next best battle rapper by Showtime Networks.

In Detroit, he hosted Fight Club, a battle rap competition that would happen near his Iron Fist Records offices, which are located on Bagley in Detroit. There, Detroit hip-hop elite would gather and listen as up-and-comers on the hip-hop scene would verbally duke it out, looking to become as big as Proof, Eminem or other Detroit hip-hop comrades.

In January, he served as best man in Eminem’s wedding, giving a poignant toast about how it’s important to marry your best friend. D12 was scheduled to begin recording its third album this month.

This is the second shooting involving Eminem’s entourage in three months. Obie Trice was shot and wounded New Year’s Eve while driving along the Lodge Freeway.

Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call Detroit Police at 313-596-2260.

59 thoughts on “D12 rapper Proof killed in shooting at afterhours nightclub”

  1. That can’t be true … oh my god .. i’m really shocked right now .. don’t know what to say

    deepest condolence to his familiy, to all his friends, to his D12 fellows. RIP – I will never forget u!

    Nathalie =(

  2. its time rappers open their eyes…..i met proof, i freestyled with him…kicked it and what ever. to hear this i feel like i lost a block to my soul.

    theres a difference between rap and beef… rap is words… beef is shit taken to heart. this aint rap its beef. we keep killing each other, anything we are good at, affects us negatively in one way or another. why R&b artist not killing each other, why rock artists not killing each they all trying to sell records they all face competition… but gotta pick up a gun and shoot someone

    im waitin patiently waiting for the aftermath of this we need to open our minds, “we need to start fighting and not pick up a gun, bt open up our minds” as tupac said it best.

    my love goes to marshall mathers, proofs familly, the whole d12, and every single d12 fan including all rap fans

    its time we wake up.

  3. It’s really scary when you think back to the “Like toy soldiers”-clip … released only a few months ago .. it’s almost like they felt that something was going to happen…

    Nathalie

  4. OUR HATS ARE OFF IN OHIO TODAY FOR THE LOSS OF A GREAT ARTISTS.
    PROOFS FAMILY FRIENDS AND THE CITY OF DETROIT ARE
    IN OUR HEARTS AND PRAYERS.
    R.I.P PROOF YOU WILL BE TRUELY MISSED IN THE GAME!
    SINCERE
    NE OHIO

  5. I AM TRULY TRULY SHOCKED! PROOF WAS A VERY UNIQUE PERSON. I JUST HEARD THE NEWS AND I AM BLOWN AWAY! THESE RAPPERS OUT HERE NEED TO MAKE THEIR MUSIC, GET THAT MONEY AND KEEP MOVING! MY CONDOLENCES GOES OUT TO PROOF’S FAMILY, EMINEM, D12 & ALL OF D12’S FANS. I KNOW PROOF IS IN A BETTER PLACE WATCHING OVER HIS FAMILY, CLOSE FRIENDS AND FANS.

    R.I.P. (PROOF YOU WILL TRULY BE MISSED!)

  6. I AM TRULY SHOCK ABOUT THIS TERRIBLE NEWS ALSO! THE BIBLE SAYS THAT PEOPLE THAT PAST AWAY IN DEATH ARE BETTER OFF THEN THOSE BORN INTO THE WORLD, BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE ANYTHING WHEN THEY COME INTO THE WORLD NOT EVEN A NAME, BUT WHEN THEY DEPART THIS WORLD THEY HAVE A NAME, A LEGACY THAT LIVES ON, ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND A FAMILY THAT CARED FOR THEM SO IN SAYING THAT WE NEED NOT GRIEVE FOR HIM WE SHOULD REJOICE FOR HIM IS IN A BETTER STATE THEN WE ARE. THE BEST WAY WE CAN HELP HIM NOW IS TO CHANGE OUR WAY OF LIFE BE IT RAPPER, ROCK STAR, NORMAL CITIZEN OR WHOM EVER WE ALL HAVE A OBLIGATION TO JEHOVAH GOD.

  7. It’s fucked up Isa … my city is feeling it. Proof was the man here. The man will certainly go down as a true legend and the one who truly put the D on the map. Tonight I’m tiltin’ my bottle … hopin’ my nigga in a better place now.

  8. J’arrive tellement pas à y croire!!!! C horrible!!!!
    RIP…

    Ds les dernières news (rap2k) ce n’est pas Bizarre qui est blessé (ou tué)puisqu’il serait à Atlanta. Sur un blog jai lu que ce serait Kuniva.

  9. I still cant believe its true… Its like he will appear on screen tomorrow and will tell us it was a joke.
    REST IN PEACE, Proof you will always be missed…

  10. wow, i cant belive Proof is gone he was very talented i cant imagine what Eminem is going through right now Proof was his best man at his wedding and what looked like his best friend all the way around. that is a shame and waste of talent for sures. Him and Eminem were the most telented form D12. Yes proof will surley be missed. “much luv & respect from California”

  11. RIP Proof…My condolences to Proof’s family, the D12 family, to Detroit, and last to hip hop. When will this end? How many more must die before the hating ceases and positivity begins. It wasn’t like this when we were pee wees coming up during the emergence of hip hop. This game, this money, Mamon, is the root of all evil. There are too many haters out there spawning too much beef. It has taken the lives of our favorite artists and all of the countless nameless others who have touched us and who have educated
    us. All taken by firearms coupled with untamed jealosy and anger. We need peace.

  12. i’ve been so sad all day since i heard about this morning on the news i cried i feel so bad but i know that he is happy in his new home…^there but i will miss him and i will NEVER forget him he has changed the Detroit world. He made a huge difference in the community. i send my condolence to his family, marshall, friends, and all his fans .

  13. Cant believe it… but i guess i have to… I’m listening the song “Just Rhymin with Proof”. Em and Proof are having so much fun in it together.
    RIP! Peace! My condolences to the family and his friends.

  14. i dont evan no what to say rite now….we know he is gona b sadly missed. all i can is for his family friends and fellow D12 members that i am sooooo sorry for your loss…i’ll b thinkin bout all of you x

  15. i cannot believe another rapper is dead, first pac and biggie then mac dre, this is just messed up. everone should just tell their loved ones how much they mean to you because you never know when they’ll be gone. everybody in toledo, detroit, and the whole world pay attention.

  16. the rest of d12 must feel like shit…..this sux i really didn’t know much bout him but he was an awesome rapper and IT SUX, HEAPS OF EM’S FRENDS HAV DIED…I HOPE SUM1 SLAPS DOSE MOFO KILLERS INTA JAIL! :|…HUGE FAN OF D12…NOT THE BIGGEST IM NOT GONNA LIE….

  17. I remember when proof and eminem and the rest of d12 came to london and preformed on tim westwood’s rap show..It was amazing with off the hook freestyles.Been listening to this guy ever since the early days when him and eminem would make freestyle mixtapes.I can’nt believe he’s dead..thats crazy.

    R.I.P Big Proof!

  18. Tell me what it feels like to be on top of the world?
    while in many people’s eyes you appeared to be a criminal.
    witnessing you on stage rhyming words of violence.
    Never tryed to be a star only what becomes of a true individual.

    In this land of the living,you left behind some close friends.
    Now a space in there hearts will feel lonely.
    You breathed the same air we all breath untill the end,
    Died for a purpose and lived never to be phoney.

    When god appears before you,answer god’s question’s why did you die.
    Tell god that you passed away because you lived the truth.
    God will ask you one more question, who were you?
    Then stand before god and tell him who you truly be ,Big Proof.

  19. yo he didn’t diserve to die that way the rap bis won’t be the same with u man
    RIP Proof
    even in death he’s still represen’en
    we’ll all miss u man

    and t me you’ll always be a legend in the rap game

  20. I feel about about proof dieing, d12 is my favorate ” band “.. rap is the best music, ive always been a fan…i love rappin myself, i hope that proof’s family, and his fans and everyone else that is sad about his death gets through this okay.. i can’t imagine what eminem must feel like, getting a divorce from Kim, and now his best friend dies… ive had similiar stuff happen to me.. eminem and the rest of d12 needs to track down the dude that shot him, and they need to kill him!.. eminem is the strongest person in the world to me, he can beat up everyone..they need revenge! before they all get shot they need to put an end to it! From: Andy Mac. andymcintosh_96@hotmail.com

  21. The best and brightest die, while the riff-raff stay home and breed…

    ‘Police said Wednesday it was Proof, 32, who fired the first bullet at the CCC nightclub, hitting Keith Bender in the head. Bender, a former sergeant with the U.S. Army, remained in critical condition early Thursday at St. John Hospital, spokeswoman Wende Berry said.

    Investigators believe Proof was shot after he pistol-whipped and shot Bender at the club on Eight Mile Road, which was memorialized in the 2002 film starring rap superstar Eminem, Proof’s close friend.

    Proof whose real name was Deshaun Holton, was shot three times in the head and chest, according to the Wayne County medical examiner’s office. He was taken to a nearby outpatient treatment center, where he was pronounced dead. ‘

    …Its a shame about the military man, but at least the riff-raff received Street Justice – done right….they should give the vindicator a medal.

  22. when i heard the news of proofs death i was blown away and speechless because i am a big fan of his but not only is his death bad but knowing that it wont be the last death in the game is just sicknin, i mean cmon this shit has to end R.I.P. Proof R.I.P. u will always be remembered

  23. This really blew me away. I can only imagine how his friends & family feel. This is a total shock. It shouldn’t of happend. Proof you will be truely & deeply missed. Things won’t be the same without him. I can’t believe it’s Proof that’s gone. It’s just unbelievable. I never thought this. Not for anyone in their group.

  24. i cant belive proof is dead its like d12 gunna be on the news and say it was a joke its fucked up that some one would kill him i cried when i heard but i cant even imagen how marshall or d12 or his friends and family feel if i ever get near who killed proof i fuckin kill him i wanna give my love to all family friends and fans of proof

    R.I.P. proof u will never be forgotton because a legend never dies youll be in my heary forever

    love, kdizzle

  25. i just wanna say proof WAS the shit.. and props to eminem whatever hes going through right now and all the shit that he’s gone through he doesnt need this to top it off.. eminem and d12’s music help me get through life there music is inspiring in some ways.
    payce.

  26. Damn!

    Why do you people keep doin´this shit! I´ve also been into rap since early eighties, but never confronted the thug stoped shooting world. I´ve been into battles hard as hell, but all true hiphop artists know it´s just words! Damn! Loss of life such a waste! Learn how to act like grown ups for XXXX sake!

    1. It’s been 3 years already…and i can remember this sad day when a Detroit homie contacted me on AIM, just a few hours after the shooting, to tell me the news…when i first posted the news, some people even wouldn’t believe me…for once, i wished i was wrong…

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