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We’re Gonna Make It

This month, after a 10-second by-myself meeting, I decided not to share a cover subject. I thought to myself, Hey, YN, that might not be the best thing for business. Plus, Christina Milian’s pretty ass is a singer, and this ain’t Hip-Hop Soul. (Cop that shit, scrubs. Bezo and the crew did their thing.) So instead, I sat back and analyzed this rap biz. And you know what—ain’t much going on. Seriously, I hate cats that spew that “rap is dead” talk every time we go a couple of months without a hot album. But I will admit, the state of the game is struggling right now, like that lanky left-hander Randy Johnson (sorry, Sherm). Hip-hop is still alive, though. But sadly, too many folks in it are passing away.

We’re halfway through the ’06, and the list of those who are no longer with us keeps growing. It’s no joking matter. Life is precious. But are we really acting like it? Proof is gone. He was known to the mainstream media as Eminem’s best friend, and regarded by his Detroit community as a local hero. I didn’t know the man, never met him. But his murder has touched many. Especially his fellow D12 members, who, in this tremendously difficult time, share their thoughts and reflections on a man who was so important in their lives. With strength and courage, they’d rather celebrate his life than mourn his death.

Speaking exclusively, Slim Shady assures us that he’ll still persevere through the pain. He pays homage to his friend who gave him the courage to believe that, even though he was White, his talent would silence the nonbelievers. Bizarre makes it clear that D12 will carry on ’cause that’s what Proof would want. Kon Artis reveals that this tragedy has affected his health. Kuniva reminisces on dude’s rambunctious side. Regrettably, Swifty’s thoughts couldn’t be included, due to his incarceration. So, instead we include the voices of the group’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, and Obie Trice. You will also hear from Proof, as we secured the final interview he ever gave. Unfortunately, all that is merely half the story.

Almost as disturbing as Proof’s death is the media frenzy that has surrounded it. I wasn’t there that night. Neither were any of the members of D12. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, the investigation is still ongoing. Nothing has been proven yet. Who shot whom? Who shot first? All we know is two people are dead and one is out on bail. Still, we at XXL take documenting this culture seriously. So we sent my homegirl Tamara Warren home to Detroit to sniff around, get the pulse of her city. She spoke to many people and got a witness who was there to bare all. This individual hasn’t even spoken to the police yet. We’re not saying his account is gospel, but this is quite a coup for the mag you hold in your hands. Once again, for the record, the investigation is still ongoing. Hopefully, by the time you read this, the truth will come to light.

On a lighter note, I want to shout-out my entire staff for their tremendous hard work in closing this very difficult issue. We might need to go on one of them Def Jam–like retreats soon if I keep working y’all muthafuckas down to the bone. The morale may get low at the corral every once in a while, but da boss man ’preciates the hard work. Those jerks out there will never know how hard it is to make it to the top and stay there. We falling off? They’ll be none of that.

In fact, as everyone knows, I’m expanding the brand and taking a stand against fraudulent rap Web sites that never lived up to their potential. The saddest thing in the world is wasted talent. We’ve done more in 11 weeks than you’ve done in 11 years? Allhiphop flip-flopped over you, and I’m gonna finish the job. Who stole the soul from sohh sohh? Your boy YN did. Convicted guilty, along with his co-D BFred. Shit, I went from hating on the blog world to running it. How real is that? Swagger-jack these nuts! Props to Fresh and Eskay for joining the team. And to the boy Byron “Heartless Bastard” Crawford: Can you slow your crazy ass down before I catch a case? Jesus, I might have to Billy Martin your ass in a minute.
XXL magazine and That’s pretty much all you need in your life.

God bless,

Elliott Wilson

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