April the 11th, 2006 was a tragic day for Deshaun Holton s family, friends and fans. A talented artist ended up in a pool of blood over a stupid argument at the infamous CCC club, leaving a whole hip hop community in grief. It also marked the end of an era in Detroit hip hop history.
Some people only know Proof as Eminem s hype man or through his work inside of D12.
Proof s best known solo work is probably Searching For Jerry Garcia. Little did you know about Deshaun Holton if you actually think Searching For Jerry Garcia is his one and only solo CD during his whole careerâ€¦
I d like to point out that Proof has marked hip hop history. I still miss his absence in the game.
NB: the list of tracks and songs mentioned in this article is non exhaustiveâ€¦forgive me for the ones I might have omitted.
Deshaun Holton was deeply rooted with the Detroit scene. Eminem and D12 s overwhelming success, Proof always busy schedule never changed the man he was. Down to earth, heartfelt, true to his roots, Proof always kept his underground work with local artists active and worked hard towards getting Detroit hip hop on the map.
Deshaun Holton was the kind of person who would not let fame affect his behavior towards other people. He didn t feel too proud to talk to a former friend nor a fan who d cross his road in Detroit or anywhere else.
Within a decade and despite all his detractors might object against him, Big Proof has done more than many artists during their whole career.
Big Proof might not be as notorious as Tupac, his underground work resembles the hidden part of an iceberg: there is more to discover than you actually think. In fact, Proof s musical work goes back to 1996.
Working together with DJ Head (D12 s former DJ), the talented artist released a mixtape called the WEGO mixtape. 5ELA s Yester Years EP is also the fruit of a collaboration with Thyme and Mudd, who formed 5 ELA with Proof.
Deshaun Holton also had a special connection with the notorious Trick Trick and his Goon Sqwad group. The same year, another CD entitled From Death came out as the product of a common collaboration.
In 1996, Proof also released a Jay Dee produced song called Da Science.
Proof concentrated on working with his D12 fellows on the D12 Underground EP, a remarkable piece of work that is characterized by a combination of astute, crazy, filthy rhymes and the frequent use of dark instrumentals such as the bass.
Here is an example of Proof s verbal dexterity within the D12 Underground EP:
You lack phat tactics, your thoughts are Dexitrim/Whipping my dick out on nuns if they say sex is sin.â€ (Proof)
In 1998, Proof and his D12 fellows were actively working with Slim Shady on the Slim Shady EP.
On his already busy schedule, Deshaun Holton added some good quality work with hip hop dedicated artists of 5 ELA, Thyme and Mudd (Proof was also a member of the group named above). The trio gave birth to several underground jewels like The Album That Time Forgot and 5E Pt 3.
Proof and Bugz also united their lyrical efforts on deceased artist Bugz underground classic, These Streets EP. These Streets EP is, by the way, very popular in Detroit City.
1999 to 2000
The years that followed kept Proof very occupied. Eminem s overwhelming fame, the constant touring, kept Proof very active on the scene, as Eminem s hype man.
Regarding D12, one could barely think of 2001 without thinking of the Devil s Night album. Major success followed with the release of the album.
During the same period, Detroit s Dirty Dozen released the Detroit What! Mixtape. Glory, fame and acclaim didn’t change Proof, who never ever neglected his local hip hop scene.
In 2001, Proof also combined some intense musical efforts with his long term friend Kevin Bailey, also known as Dogmatic.
Promatic originated from the combination of both artist s names: Proof plus Dogmatic equals Promatic. Both artists released the Promatic LP the same year.
If you were already a Proof fan or listener in 2002, parts of his projects were available and downloadable on his former website, Big Proof Dot Com. One of those projects was the Electric Coolaid Acid EP.
Sometimes, it feels so lonely at the top. Fame can alter the taste of simple pleasure and force you to do things that you like less, but that are requested by the music industry.
Deshaun sometimes felt like his entry into the mainstream sphere had left a sour aftertaste in his mind. In I Miss The Hip Hop Shop, a brilliant mixtape that includes many local Detroit collaborations and productions, Big Proof expressed how much he regretted the golden age of hip hop he experienced at Maurice Malone s Hip Hop Shop.
Maturity comes with age and experience. From there you can look back at your mistakes and try to improve yourself. In Grown Man Shit Proof started squashing a bloody beef with his long term rival, acid rapper Esham. But Proof didn t limit his reconciliation attempt to words on a tape: his reconciliation with Esham actually happened at his last birtday party on October the 2nd, 2006.
In Grown Man Shit, Proof also puts some insignificant local haters in place and astutely ridicules them in a well written song, with loads of humor.
In 2006, Proof released his Searching For Jerry Garcia LP, a CD that he had been working on for at least three years before its release. In Searching For Jerry Garcia, Proof reveals his incessant quest for real artistry, showing how much it is difficult to be a real artist, in all senses of the term.
The same year, Proof s Hand 2 Hand mixtape, a beautiful compilation of numerous Detroit talents also came out.
Before his tragic death, in March 2006, Proof did a last album, within 24 hours that is entitled Time A Tell. The album, that includes some collaborations with underground emcee Intrinzik hasn t been released yet.
During his whole career, Proof has been collaborating with numerous local Detroit talents. Among them, the notorious Trick Trick and his Goon Sqwad, Jay Dilla, Hash, Purple Gang, Woof Pac, 5 ELA, Dogmatic, Royce Da 5.9, Slum Village, Malaki The Most Hi, Twiztid of Psychopatic Records and many more.
On a national scale, Proof has also worked with numerous influent mainstream artists such as B Real of Cypress Hill, 50 Cent, Nate Dogg and Method Man.
Deshaun Holton s short life is the testimony of his true love for hip hop. A love nobody can erase from the face of the earth.
Copyright Â© 2007 by Isabelle Esling
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