Today marks the untimely passing and senseless killing of Detroit mainstay, gifted freestyle battle rapper and best bud to hometown hero Eminem, DeShaun “Big Proof” Holton. Proof was killed as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest on the grounds of the CCC Club in Detroit at the hands of security guard Mario Etheridge – shortly after Proof shot Etheridge’s cousin Keith Bender, Jr.
Etheridge shot Holton three times in retaliation to the shooting of his family member, with Proof expiring on the spot. Bender died just a week later due to complications from a head wound. A friend of Proof’s came forward in a XXL magazine interview stating his account of the altercation between Proof and Bender.
The gentleman shared that he agreed with police reports and witness accounts that Proof had been drinking heavily and that a fracas did ensue between the D12 rapper and Bender. Proof’s friend, however, elaborated that Proof may have been following Etheridge’s intimidating lead, as the security guard fired a round in the air in an attempt to calm down the argument between Bender and Holton over a pool game gone afoul.
Regardless of the conflicting details, Proof’s death came as a shock to many who knew him. Fans and friends of the rapper depicted him as an easygoing and fun loving character that enjoyed the trappings of fame along with Slim Shady and his D12 cohorts but was never known to be violent.
Eminem has often eulogized his friend in verse, with Slim’s “Difficult” being the most recent incarnation. In the song, Eminem’s pained vocals and sincere words devoted to Proof resonate over the somber production and depicts the difficulty Em has had with the mourning process of losing such a close ally.
Some will recall in the loosely biographical Eminem film “8 Mile” the character Future, played by actor Mekhi Phifer; Future is known by most to be the celluloid depiction of Proof.
Proof found success with the D12 unit and also released two solo albums, most notably the 2005 release Searching For Jerry Garcia – Proof was said to be a big fan of the Grateful Dead rocker. Proof also released two mixtapes, one of them posthumously.
R.I.P. to Detroit legend Big Proof.