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Proof Biography

Proof Biography

Although Proof first rose to national prominence as a part of the rap group D12, he had been quite successful on his own. Most notably, he was featured in The Source's Unsigned Hype column in 1999 and came close to winning the 1998 Blaze Battle. His first television appearance can be seen in the Aaliyah video "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number". He rose to prominence in 2001 with the release of Devil's Night, D12's debut album with Interscope Records. The following year, Proof collaborated with Dogmatic on Promatic and joined Eminem's "Anger Management" tour in support of the release.

He also appeared in Eminem's semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile; although in the film the character based on him, Future, was portrayed by Mekhi Phifer, he appeared as Lil' Tic, a freestyle rapper who trounces the lead character with his battle verse.

Proof released a solo effort featuring collaborations with Eminem, 50 Cent, Method Man, Nate Dogg, B-Real of Cypress Hill, T3 of Slum Village, Obie Trice, Royce Da 5'9" and other members of D12 on his own Iron Fist Records label in conjunction with Alliance Entertainment's IDN Distribution Proof said that he did not produce the record with Shady Records or Aftermath because he wanted to "build his own thing". Called Searching for Jerry Garcia, the album was released on August 9, 2005 on his own Iron Fist Records label 10 years to the day following Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia's death. Originally, every song title on the album was to be named after a celebrity. "Jump Biatch" was originally titled "Eric Clapton Jr." (Proof changed the title when he realized that Eric Clapton's son fell to his death from a 53rd-story window.) Another song presumably meant for the album was "Neil Armstrong", which can be found on Proof's mixtape "I Miss The Hip Hop Shop".

Proof has said that he considered Jerry Garcia to be a "genius" who suffered from character flaws that are indicative of all people. Proof has stated his admiration for Garcia's eclectic style, saying that Garcia "went against the grain". The album received favorable reviews, which commented on its "eclectic" and "introspective" nature.

Proof stated how he wanted to be remembered in an interview with SOHH.com shortly after his album release; 'I want people to say that I was a true artist', ' That I did it best and stayed true to Hip Hop roots' and 'I'd want people to understand I did it for the love not for the charts.'

The last song Proof recorded was with Detroit Horrorcore rap group Twiztid for their album Independent's Day called "How I Live". The track was recorded only weeks before his untimely death and on the night Proof passed he was finalizing a deal to go on tour with the group. The Tour and collaboration were a means by proof to unite Detroit's rap scene as Proof in the song states that the two groups (Psychopathic Records & D12) "bury the hatchet" and were working together.

Although unconfirmed to date, it was reported that Proof fired the first shots into Bender's head after taking his pistol and striking Bender several times in the face. According to the coroner, Proof had a blood alcohol content of 0.32. The eruption is suspected to have been due to an argument over a game of pool, which escalated. Proof was then allegedly shot by the bouncer Mario Etheridge, Bender's cousin. He was then taken by private vehicle to St. John Health's Conner Creek Campus, an outpatient emergency treatment site, and pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Exact details of his death and the events that led to it remain unclear.

Bender's family began a wrongful-death suit against Proof's estate. During the course of this suit, and in a subsequent magazine article, an alternative description of events emerged.

An XXL article  that interviews Mudd (a friend of Proof who allegedly witnessed the shooting) offers an alternative viewpoint to the media reports.

Mudd claims the shooting was done by Mario Etheridge, who initially discharged his weapon into the air to break up a fist fight between Proof and Bender. Proof responded in kind, wrestling Mudd's weapon from him and likewise discharging the weapon into the air. As he fired, Proof was tackled by Bender and the two began to fight on the ground.

Etheridge then fired repeatedly at the pair on the ground, killing them both. Mudd further alleges that the initial testimony of Proof firing first were corroborated by Etheridge's companions to keep him (Etheridge) out of jail. Whether or not this is true is debatable, however this is the testimony that Mudd presented under oath at the wrongful-death suit brought against Proof's estate.

When quizzed as to why he had not brought any of this information to light before the trial, Mudd responded that he feared retaliation.

Proof was buried on April 19 at Woodlawn Cemetery, in Detroit to a full house of 2,000 with thousands mourning outside. Eminem and Obie Trice read eulogies at the service.


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