Proof of D12
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Proof of D12


Band Hip Hop


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The best kept secret in music


"Searching for Jerry Garcia"

98.3% of the people reading this review don't need to have Proof's "Searching for Jerry Garcia" album title explained to them. They know Jerry is not Proof's long lost cousin, and/or don't mistake the name for a reference to a popular flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. For that other 1.7%, the artwork adorning the cover of this D12 rapper's album should be a hint. Proof is hugging a skeleton, and it's not because he's a morbid motherfucker or a big Cypress Hill fan. Actually he may be both, but the truth of the matter is that Jerry Garcia was the lead singer for the cult rock phenomenon known as the Grateful Dead - emphasis on the was. Jerry's soul left the earthly realm on August 9th, 1995 although some would say he had long since travelled on planes few of us could ever conceive well beyond death. While his best known habit was heroin, both the music and the cult of "Deadheads" who followed his band religiously became much more infamous for their acid trips. We at RapReviews don't endorse the use of illicit pharmaceuticals but let's face it - your favorite rapper and your favorite rapper's favorite rapper probably all smoke weed to begin with. Some of the more adventurous like Tame One and Cage openly advocate taking it to the next level with everything from hasish to blunts dipped in formaldehyde. Bottom line - if Proof is "Searching for Jerry Garcia" it's not because he wants to dig up his bones, it's because he really wants to get stoned. While fellow D12 member Bizarre advocates his sex drugs rock'n'roll lifestyle in an over the top in-your-face manner, Proof is opting for something a little more sublime. In fact you wouldn't even know the gruff voiced rapper has anything on his mind but getting people to groove on his opening song "Clap Wit Me":

"+8 Mile+ was dope, Obie brought heat
Emile on the beat 50 kept us in the street
It's my destiny to be, the truth nevertheless
Nothin new your boy Proof is better than best
Elliot Ness to these fuckin gangsters and killers
Bankin they millions they all wanksters and squealers
My first spit with the Tony Toca
D-Tweezy 'Ride to Death' is our only slogan
Dreams of fuckin J-Lo, Hood is on the payroll
Lockland and 3rd Precinct screamin 'Free Yayo'
If the beef is set let's squeeze off a tec
And with my last breath still screamin I-F, clap wit me"

Light and jazzy, the song might be the opposite of what you'd expect if you only know Proof as the most underrated hardcore trash talker in all of D12. On the d-low Proof has been doing his own thing for years though, and has the underground albums to attest to it. There's more to Proof than meets the eye. If you take a journey with him through "Forgive Me" featuring 50 Cent you see how his life has been a search for serenity all along, struggling to overcome a troubled past:

"Barely raised by my dysfunctional fam
Here I stand as a dysfunctional man
Quick-tempered, short-fused, and pissed at God
Demons pullin at my soul 'til it's ripped apart
Secret's out momma that fire I started it
Fuck the fireman logic of the closet by the wire shit
What's positive about a father that bust nuts
that washed up, in a momma that don't show her son enough love
Shit, that's why I run from my first son
And force these chickenhead bitches to get abortions
I'm married to game, my mistress is fame
My girl Paq the closest, she know I ain't gon' change
Go insane in a world evil as ours"

Eminem may have the fame and Bizarre the notoriety, but if you're paying close attention Proof is the truth. The only thing stopping Proof from reaching a higher level of acclaim thus far has been his inability to get the right beats and national distribution, and this time around he has both. "High Rollers" is produced by and features B-Real (so maybe Proof is a not-so-closeted Cypress Hill fan after all) along with Method Man. Fredwreck funks out "Pimplikeness" and the D12 fam come to make cameos. "Ali" takes things from Detroit to Flint with the Michigan O.G. MC Breed on the track, over a simple but effective Essman beat. The underutilized Ski laces "Jump Biatch," Salam Wreck handles the triple skipping "M.A.D." and Dirty Bird laces up "Sammy Da Bull" featuring Nate Dogg and Swifty McVay. From the opener to the closer the music comes correct, with the final track "Kurt Kobain" ending things on a deeply somber note:

"I put my soul through the ink; bless a pad with thoughts
Add my thoughts before I grow extinct
My backbone disowned my zone Why roam? Called home - from now on I'm all alone
Just Proof, no shine, no friends just fans
No wonder my hands, tight where the internet ends
I take back most of the flack
The stress smokes press me close to the crack
Like my pops, the ghost of my past
Found in mud, JD and Stucky
Lately I'm lucky, I don't hate me to touch me
Maybe I'm ugly inside, but smilin to make it
I love y'all dawg, and that's however you take it"

At two polar ends of the D12 spectrum are Proof and -

"Searching for Jerry Garcia"

His D12 brother Bizarre may be just crazy, but Proof is crazy like a fox. Many of the tracks on his proper debut offer vivid descriptions of inner-turmoil that would make any backpacker happy, but there's often a grotesque sting of the tail slipped in somewhere that's one part humorous, one part creepy. Mixtape mavens that seek out everything Eminem or Detroit could have told you this, but on D12 albums and his work with Slim Shady, Proof goes for the knockout punch and doesn't flesh out his character enough to consider him a true player. The oddly titled Searching for Jerry Garcia proves he's a lot more versatile than expected. Running over an hour, the album never bores or tries the patience. Skits and interludes are purposeful and join together a varied set of numbers that lesser efforts would tangle. There are club tracks, thug tracks, and a guest list that goes from MC Breed to 50 Cent, but the lyrically gifted Proof is always at the center, always the heart. The infectious thumper "Gurls Wit da Boom," the horn-filled, Kanye-influenced "Clap Wit Me," and the G-Unit-flavored "Forgive Me" are obvious standouts, but SFJG goes that extra mile and adds some challenging, introspective numbers that grow with each listen. "No. T. Lose" with Detroit legend King Gordy balances on its rickety beat but never falls off while the closing, word-filled monologue "Kurt Kobain" finally ties the music to the album's title and artwork. The CD's booklet is obsessed with dead rock stars and shows Proof burning down Detroit's holiest of music landmarks -- Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. building -- while waxing poetic about the city's lesser-known landmark, the Hip-Hop Shop. Who knows what they were getting at, but even on an album that features a D12 track (and a track with Purple Gang, who are D12 in training), it's the most D12 moment on this entirely Proof-centric album. He could've played it safe and used his superstar pedigree as a crutch. Instead, Searching for Jerry Garcia cracks the rapper's head wide open, lets everyone peek inside, and takes a wrecking ball to the idea he's just another member of Eminem's extended posse. - All Music Guide


Searching for Jerry Garcia (Iron Fist Records)
D12 World (Shady Records)
Devil's Night (Shady Records)


Feeling a bit camera shy


DeShaun Holton born October 2, 1975, professionally known as "PROOF," is a vital member of D12 and is Eminem's crucial right-hand man, who often coordinates the stage shows and also assists with the completion of set lists for Eminem's solo performances. Proof /Big Proof /Derty Harry is an astounding freestyle artist and winner of the 1999 Freestyling competition deeming him one of Detroit's most recognized and respected wordsmiths.

Proof is the only member of D12 to appear in Eminem's groundbreaking film 8 Mile, he appears as Lil' Tic, an MC extraordinaire, in the beginning and briefly in the end of the film, however, Mekhi Phifer's character "Future" portrays Proof's real-life persona and the development of what would become a loyal and vital relationship between Proof and Eminem. Proof's success in not solely founded in his affiliation with Eminem. He was certainly flourishing before he first rose to national prominence as a part of the D12 posse. Proof, Detroit's most notorious MC and previous host of the emcee battles at Maurice Malone's Hip Hop Shop would meet the rapper who later rose to the top of the hip hop scene and became known to the world as Slim Shady/Eminem/Marshall Mathers.

"We all knew each other growing up in Detroit," Proof remembers. Proof pushed Eminem to battle. This created the street buzz that was crucial to their future and secured a record deal with the prominent producer/artist Dr. Dre's Aftermath/Interscope records. Eminem refused to travel the miles of success alone though, the relationship that developed between Proof, Eminem, Bizarre, Kon Artis, Koniva, and Swift/Swifty McVay laid the foundation for D12, and their multi-platinum album Devil's Night (which sold 4 million copies worldwide), spawned the controversial single "Purple Pills," and was released on Eminem's Shady Records/Interscope label in 2002, followed by their second multi-platinum album World released in 2004. Proof candidly stated, "forget about the word real, D12 keeps it right."

In 2005 Proof ventured out to create his own record label, Iron Fist Records, and release his first solo CD "Searching for Jerry Garcia," due in stores worldwide August 9, 2005 - the 10thyear Anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death. The strong artist roster on his upcoming CD includes such world-renowned rappers as Method Man, Nate Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Obie Trice, MC Breed, and of course members of D12. Proof named the album after the former Grateful Dead front man because he observed uniqueness within a universal quality to express freedom and commonality juxtaposed with the ills that led to Garcia's demise. Proof cleverly notes, "Despite his genius, Jerry Garcia died from drugs, stress, and poor diet. At one time or another we all struggle through one of those things, so in a way, we all have a little Jerry Garcia in us." The album's scrupulous amalgamation of hard-core hip hop, reckless rock, and thoughtful jazz with live instruments lays bare his soul and undeniable skill. "I want to show that you can talk about more than one thing in hip hop. Rapping about cars and your Rolex is played out," says the MC. "You can be different and still be successful." For this, he exists as living Proof.