Though he passed when he succumbed to gunshot wounds on April 11, 2006, the Detroit rhymer left a mark on the game and those within it that is still seen today.
“Proof was my guy,” DJ Quik told XXLMag.com. “His role was to be the motivator for D12. Like he kept them from doubting themselves, or self pity. He was the dude that it could be the snowiest day ever and this motherfucker was Jokie Smirf keeping everybody’s spirits warm in 16 degree below fucking weather. He was a special guy and I went out with him a couple of times while I was out there. It killed my heart to see how they killed that boy like that. That made me sick. And not to mention what that fucking did to [Eminem]. C’mon you’re taking the most important person in Em’s life out of it. C’mon man. It’s like fuck. know what that shit is like. I went through that shit. To do that to Em, it’s no fair.”
Elzhi, too, recounted Proof’s influence, specifically to their shared hometown of Detroit. “Proof’s legacy is the whole hip-hop Detroit movement and all the people who were influenced by him, such as myself, Eminem, J Dilla and many others,” says the D-Town lyricist. “He gave all of us a sense of pride in representing our city around the globe.”
Check out what Proof’s D12 brethren Denaun Porter had to say about his lost brother here. —Adam Fleischer