Deshaun Holton, better known as D12’s Proof, was much more than just a little average rapper the media described after he tragically passed away on April the 11th, 2006. There are currently too many misconceptions about D12’s Proof and I would like to do away with them. Also, I’d like to give more insight to my readers about Proof’s career.
A last word to whom it may concern: I have noticed that a lot of hypocrites suddenly pretended to be Â« supporters of Deshaun Holton Â» after the brilliant artist passed away. My point is: whether you support an artist or you don’t. No need to do as if. Fuck all of those who have this two faced attitude. I have been supporting the man for years and I know what I stand for. Fuck you.
Â«Â Without Proof, there would be no Eminem, no Slim Shady, no D12Â Â»
Those are the words Marshall Mathers spoke from his heart at his best friend Deshaun’s funeral. However, Eminem didn’t state those words to flatter his deceased friend’s memory, he just spoke out the very truth.
Proof’s talent had been outshined by Eminem’s overwhelming success. Deshaun was, nevertheless, a very talented artist who played a key role in the creation of the D12 group. Let’s summarize it that way: Proof was D12. The group originated thanks to him:
“I was in New York; I had this deal with Tommy Boy that didn’t work out, unfortunately. But I just had this idea that we could put together a team of dope MCs, put a lot of Detroit on as far as having MCs with skills. Everybody’s solo took so we’ll make aliases, like Eminem’s Slim Shady and I’m Derty Harry, and call it the Dirty Dozen — and at this time, to be honest with you, we thought The Dirty Dozen was a Western movie; we didn’t know it was an army movie [laughs].
That fits us, army rather than Western, ’cause we see ourselves more as gun-slingers, lyric-slingers. Then the idea was to form a pact whereas this team, whoever gets out first comes back and gets the rest of the group.”
Deshaun grew up in a family where music did actually matter. Proof’s dad was involved in the music industry and produced legend Marvin Gaye.
The hip hop artists that influenced Deshaun Holton most are Rakim, KRS One, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J and Redman. However, Deshaun did not only focus on rap artist, he actually knew to value artists he considered as true artists such as Kurt Cobain and Jerry Garcia, for instance.
Back in the days of the Hip Hop Shop
Deshaun’s presence at the notorious Hip Hop Shop in Detroit was even prior to Eminem’s. Known on the local scene as Maximum by people who have witnessed the early stages of Detroit hip hop.
Deshaun released a CD, From Death, under the stage name Maximum, in collaboration with Detroit group Goon Sqwad.
Deshaun would soon impress people with his astute freestyles and would earn the nickname Â«Â Living ProofÂ Â».
Proof is featured at the beginning of Eminem’s movie. He gives us a beautiful example of a spontaneous freestyle.
Electric Cool-Aid Acid Testing EP
In 2002, Deshaun released a 6 title EP, entitled Electric Cool-Aid Acid Testing EP. I had the chance to listen to several tracks of his EP.
Broken featuring local talents Journalist 103 and Mu and One, Two are particularly well handled, lyrically and instrumentally.
Promatic = Proof + Dogmatic
Proof’s Promatic album also came out in 2002. You will be able to read my album review here.
Promatic is a pretty good example of two interesting Detroit talents’ collaboration. The album introduces you into the world of ecstasy and magic mushrooms and describes the D with realism and humor.
I Miss The Hip Hop Shop mixtape
I copped Proof’s I Miss The Hip Hop Shop mixtape in 2004 .
I won’t repeat each of the words contained in my former review, I’d simply like to point out how much I enjoyed this CD that I definitely recommend to true hip hop lovers. Proof â€˜s beautiful mixtape is all about the love of an emcee for his hometown and hip hop.
Deshaun never neglected to enlighten his fellow emcees’ talent from Detroit like Mu and Jay Dee.
Grown Man Shit
The Grown Man shit mixtape, was released around 2005. I remember how much enthusiastic I was while first discovered it. Proof innovates with new sounds. Grown Man Shit is written on a dark note. Deshaun apologizes to acid rapper Esham on the CD. He also ridicules phonies who brought nothing but trouble to Detroit rap. I like the honesty and the realness of Grown Man Shit.
Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Searching For Jerry Garcia
Searching For Jerry Garcia was released on August the 9th, 2005, anniversary of talented guitarist Jerry Garcia’s death. In fact, Proof had been working for several years on his project before releasing his masterpiece.
Searching For Jerry Garcia symbolizes Proof’s constant quest for real artistic values. It also talks about recurrent themes in Proof’s work like suicide and Deshaun also raises a lot of introspective questions about himself.
You can read my review here.
On a side note, I’d like to add that I had the chance to be granted an interview with Deshaun Holton through his IF promotions director recently. The interview will be available on the next issue of Detroit’s ILL mag. Proof had a lot of upcoming projects in the making and he will be missed as the great artist and the ambassador of Detroit hip hop he actually was.