J-Reel, an original taste of Californian rap

J-Reel is an emcee from California.
We Gone is a catchy track that speaks in favor of non commercial hip hop. Claps in the background, drums, violins. The flow is sick and the track gets very lyrical.
Black Diamond introduces into a more romantic note. It is a soft song aimed at the ladies which is very descriptive about their qualities.
Here’s a man who knows how to praise ladies.
Streets Cod is built on rhythmic drum beats. The track is a hood anthem that will remind you of the hard game of street hustle.
J- Reel is certainly an interesting artist who has some undeniable lyrical skills.
However, I would like to point out some weaknesses of the tracks exposed on his my space account.
J- Reel should definitely work on his vocals: his voice sounds ways to weak compared to the powerful lyrics the emcee actually puts in his tracks. The acoustic part would be worth improving a little bit too.
Check J-Reel out here.

Proof, true ambassador of hip hop

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 « supporters of Deshaun Holton » 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.

« Without Proof, there would be no Eminem, no Slim Shady, no D12 »
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 « Living Proof ».
8 Mile
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 ‘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.

Swift faces arrest after missing Court for Proof funeral (MTV news)

Michigan judge issued an arrest warrant for D12 member Swift on Wednesday after the rapper missed a court appearance to attend the funeral for Proof. According to The Associated Press, Swift (born Ondre Moore), was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a hearing to decide whether he violated the terms of his probation stemming from a drunken-driving case.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Swift pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired on October 17 of last year, a misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in jail. That same day, Judge Brian MacKenzie said, Swift tested positive for using illegal drugs and was sent to jail for two days. Ten days later, Swift was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to do 50 hours of community service, attend Alcoholics Anonymous and stay away from drugs and alcohol, the paper said. But in March, Swift tested positive for alcohol and was sentenced to a week in jail. Last week, Judge MacKenzie said Swift tested positive for alcohol again, which triggered the hearing.
Swift missed his the court date because he served as an honorary pallbearer at the funeral for Proof (see “Eminem, Obie Trice Speak At Packed Funeral For Proof”), who was shot and killed at the CCC Club in Detroit on April 11 (see “D12’s Proof Shot And Killed At Detroit Club”).
Judge MacKenzie said he waited until 4:15 p.m. to give Swift, 31 a chance to show up. When he didn’t, MacKenzie issued a bench warrant for the rapper’s arrest and set his bail at $500,000. “While I recognize the importance of attending a funeral … there is a requirement that you make some effort to comply with a court order,” the judge said, according to the AP.
Swift could face more than three months in jail if MacKenzie finds that he violated his probation. A spokesperson for Swift could not be reached for comment at press time.
— Gil Kaufman

We’re killing each other (Det News article)

‘We’re killing each other’
At Proof’s star-studded funeral, rappers and minister urge grieving city to unite, end senseless violence.
Ricardo Thomas / The Detroit News
Pierce Johnson attends his friend’s funeral. Fans lined up outside.
“Proof just loved people and people loved him,” Eminem, right, said at his friend Deshaun Holton’s funeral, which drew 1,700, including hip-hop stars Dr. Dre and 50 Cent.
An urgent call to stop the violence that is ripping Detroit apart was made Wednesday at the funeral of slain Detroit rapper Proof, before a gathering of 1,700 that included hip-hop megastars Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent.
Detroit rapper Obie Trice — who was shot in the head on New Year’s Eve while driving on the Lodge Freeway — spoke at the funeral, making a plea for the community to come together as one.
“I wanna talk to the black men in here, you know what I mean?” said Trice, who got choked up while addressing the capacity crowd. “Black men in here that are coming up in the hood, coming up in the struggle: We’re killing each other, dawg. You feel me? You know? And it’s about nothing, it’s about nothing. Nothing.”
Proof, 32, a respected Detroit rapper and a beacon of Detroit’s hip-hop community, was shot in the wee hours of April 11 at C.C.C., a club on Detroit’s east side, after police say he shot Keith Bender Jr., who died Tuesday.
The Rev. Wendell Anthony, pastor of Fellowship Chapel, delivered a powerful 45-minute eulogy in which he called for an end to the senseless killings.
Detroit hip-hop clique D12 and G-Unit rappers Lloyd Banks and Young Buck also attended the funeral, held at Fellowship Chapel on West Outer Drive in Detroit.
An emotional Eminem, who sat in a pew near the front of the church behind members of Proof’s family, wiped tears from his eyes and buried his head in his hands during the service. He addressed the church, saying goodbye to his best friend and right-hand man.
“I’m sure everybody who’s ever met him, even just met him once, could testify to the fact that this man just illuminated a room when he walked in it,” said Eminem, who was dressed in a dark suit and a black T-shirt with Proof’s image on the front. “Proof just loved people and people loved him, and he was just a people magnet. He was a magnet, he just lured you in. When you first met him, you just wanted to know more about him.”
Also paying their respects at the service were Naughty by Nature, Detroit rapper Trick Trick and Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg.
‘Dying too soon’
“Our community suffers the loss of another young man, who reflects the fact that those whom we love are dying too soon and leaving too quickly,” Anthony said during his eulogy.
“Not only this family is involved and suffered a loss, the other family has also suffered a loss. Two families, both grieving, and a community now grieving. We are dying too soon, and not living long enough.
“Parents are here because their son is now gone. A wife is here because her husband is now gone. Children are here because a father is gone. Siblings are here because a brother is gone. You are here because a comrade and a friend is gone. Gone but not forgotten, physically dead but spiritually alive. The rap has ended, but the sound of his music lingers on.”
Police are still investigating the shootings. Bender, a Gulf War veteran, died Tuesday. Police say the two argued over a game of pool and Proof, whose real name is Deshaun Holton, shot Bender. Proof was then allegedly shot by Mario Etheridge, a relative of Bender’s and a bouncer at C.C.C.
Anthony made numerous references to the fact that some members of the community didn’t agree with his church hosting the rapper’s viewing and funeral services considering the circumstances of his death.
“It would be irresponsible for (the funeral) to not be here,” he said.
He also brought Bender’s name into his eulogy several times. “Deshaun was and is important to God, just as Keith Bender was and is important to God,” he said.
Anthony quoted liberally from Marvin Gaye’s anti-violence anthem “What’s Going On” as well as Nas and Fred Durst’s verses from the 2001 All-Star tribute to Gaye’s original.
“Violence is a weed that is choking the very life out of our community,” Anthony said, making reference to the Bible’s parable of the wheat and the weeds. It’s a theme he revisited throughout his eulogy.
Anthony also attacked what he called immoral themes in Hollywood movies, from “Training Day” and “Monster’s Ball” to “Brokeback Mountain” and the violence in hip-hop culture.
In reference to the Oscar winning song, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from last year’s “Hustle & Flow,” Anthony said, “I hate to tell you this, but it’s supposed to be hard out here for a pimp.”
The two-and-a-half hour funeral was very solemn and was marked by occasional fits of crying from those close to the rapper. Earlier Wednesday, before the service, police responded to a bomb threat. Officers with dogs searched near the church, but found no explosives, police said.
Outpouring of grief
Proof’s gold casket was surrounded by bouquets of flowers, including arrangements in the shape of the letter P, a Christian cross and the number 8, for Eight Mile, the road that Proof helped make famous through his involvement with Eminem and the road on which he lost his life.
Well-wishes from family and friends — including Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — were read aloud during the ceremony, and Proof’s aunt Carol Holton read the rapper’s obituary. The obituary was reprinted in a 16-page full-color booklet that was handed out to mourners and contained dozens of photos of the rapper, chronicling his past with the groups 5-Elementz and Goon Sqwad up to his days with D12.
During the ceremony, Linda Boston sang a moving rendition of the Lord’s Prayer, which ended with her singing, “Take Deshaun home, Lord! Amen!”
Proof is survived by his wife, Sharonda, and five children, Deshaun, Kativa, Nassan, Nyeem and Elijah.
“I thought it was a beautiful ceremony,” said MC Serch, former morning show host at WJLB-FM and a veteran of the hip-hop scene. He called Anthony’s eulogy “very powerful,” and said Eminem composed himself quite well under the circumstances.
“It’s a terrible loss,” Serch said of Proof’s passing.
Outside the chapel, several hundred fans were stretched about 30 feet past the entrance, quietly gathered at the barricades. Fans and well-wishers congregated near the cordoned-off Fellowship Chapel beneath a cloudless, powder-blue sky to glimpse the funeral procession as it left the church while others snapped photos on their cell phones. Police presence was heavy outside the church.
Proof’s casket was taken to Woodlawn Cemetery on Woodward Avenue in Detroit in a horse-drawn carriage that was followed by eight limousines and two stretch Hummers.
Ralphe Armstrong, who played bass on a number of D12 tracks, said after the funeral Proof was a gentleman, “not a buffoon or someone who used profanity all the time.” He said he’s resentful of the image of Proof that’s been portrayed in the media during the last week, and said Proof cared about the city and about his fellow community members.
DJ House Shoes, a Detroit DJ, said he’s tired of attending funerals for Detroit hip-hop stars, following the death of his good friend Jay Dee, the Slum Village rapper/producer who died in February from lupus.
“I don’t want anybody to see me in a suit ever again,” he said.
At one point during the funeral, Nedra Ruffin, daughter of the Temptations’ David Ruffin, used the chapel’s microphone to plug an upcoming album by her son. Her comments were met with ardent boos from the audience.
Detroit News Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed to this report. You can reach Adam Graham at (313) 222-2284 or agraham@ detnews.com.

I just ordered…

Swifty’s brand new CD, the Forest Fyres mixtape…not convinced this CD is worth your buy?
You can listen to snippets on Swifty’s official website. Hip hop lovers, you gotta cop that album, it is hot as hell!!!

Keeping the memory of an artist alive…

Since Deshaun Holton aka Proof was murdered, on Tuesday the 11th, I have been quite shocked by the disrespect I found in the media that argued more about the circumstances of his death than about the incredible artist he actually was.
Deshaun’s death has hit me hard. However, I am not keen on discussing the circumstances of his death, merely because I wasn’t present and I don’t know what really happened. Anyway, does it really matter? Hip hop has lost a valuable soldier, no matter how he died.
Many of us true fans are affected by Proof’s death. However, I think we should definitely have an attentive look at Eminem’s words (who is probably, along with Deshaun’s family members, one of the persons who suffer most from the loss of his friend). Eminem reminded us to remember Deshaun alive.
Maybe this is the only way to overcome the huge pain we all feel at the moment.
I’m not going to talk again about Deshaun’s funeral. I am going to remind people who think he was just “Eminem’s hypeman” about his career as a hip hop artist.
Proof wasn’t into what I’d call “commercial shit”. His heart was truly dedicated to hip hop and he worked towards putting the Murda Mitten on the map.
My next article will honor Proof’s work and summarize his career and collaborations all over the years. Stay tuned and remember that even if Deshaun left us physically, his music will live on:)