10 Years Gone Ironsidehex Offers 3 Stories About Proof

Ironsidehex (formerly known as hexmurda) returns with an editorial about Big Proof on the somber anniversary of his passing. As always, this op-ed piece has not been edited by AllHipHop, the staff of AllHipHop, the CEO, president or intern of AHH or any of the subsidiaries of said company. We also Read on…RIP PROOF

10 years.

10 muthafuckin’ years.

3650 days.

That’s how long Proof’s been gone.

April 11, 2006 he was taken away from us forever. Up until now I’ve avoided all of his memorials like the plague. I think I’m gonna go to this one.

In Detroit Hip Hop circles, timelines can be broken into two distinct eras. When Proof Was Alive, and After Proof’s Death. I know how it sounds & I’m only half kidding. That’s how profound his impact was on us.
Maybe some of you guys know the story; late night / early morning in a Detroit after hours club, shots ring out. When the smoke cleared two men lay dead & dying, one allegedly shot by Proof, Proof shot dead by Mario Ethridge, the cousin of the other man. Two families and Detroit Hip Hop changed forever. I never found out what the fuck REALLY happened in the CCC CLUB that night, all I knew is that my man was dead & I was sad as fuck & highly pissed. Over the years I came to deal with it, & I think it’s important to say again that TWO people died as a result of that incident. The other guy that died was named Keith Bender, & he was 35 years old. I just think it’s important that people at least know his name too because nobody is gonna be writing any articles & shit about Keith Bender, & I’m sure his family & friends loved him as much as we loved Proof. The reality is that Proof was Eminem’s best friend & hype man on stage which literally made him THE MAN NEXT TO THE MAN, so writers are gonna write about him. Plus he was my friend & this is my article & Chuck said that I could write whatever the fuck I want. The truth is I hate writing these types of pieces. J.DILLA, BAATIN, the DEX OSAMA joint, SEAN P. I feel like the fucking Grim Reaper’s publicist. Man, I wish I didnt have to write this shit. I wish Proof & Keith Bender never bumped heads at that fucking club. I wish Proof ‘s crazy ass wld have just gone the fuck home that night after the strip club.

The Strip Club.

I could write 100 pages about PROOF. Could probably write a book on him. I could write some shit about black on black crime that would make Deray from BLACK LIVES MATTER proud. I could do a super HipHop story about Proof ‘s place in Detroit HipHop that would bring a tear to Harry Allen’s eye. Its impossible to try to sum up Proof ‘s life in one article. so I’m not even gonna try. Ya’ll know how I do it. I’m gonna tell a few stories about him, & I hope ya’ll get some insight into who he was. The strip club seems as good a place to start as any.

Proof loved the fucking strip club. Me & Proof use to go to the strip club EVERYDAY in about 2000 / 2001. We wouldn’t go to just one either, we would do “THE 8 MILE LOOP”. We would start at ALL- STARS & stay there for about an hour or til we got bored, then leave & head west on 8 mile to either TRUMPS or CITY HEAT, sit down for a minute & have a few drinks, then back in the trucks, heading back east, passing by ALL-STARS & parking at HOT TAMALES. We usually stayed there til close or went BACK to ALL-STARS, then hit THE ZOO after hours joint til about 5 or 6 am. We would do that shit EVERYFUCKINGDAY. Proof was half-vampire. U know who we would see on our strip club adventures? Besides strippers, smart ass. Royce Da 5’9″. Almost everyday. That’s why I never understood why that beef got so out of hand. We wouldn’t sit together at the clubs or share bottles & shit but we were cordial. How him & Proof went from us being in the same spots daily to them pulling mags on each other in the street is beyond me b/c that beef could have been squashed at anytime. Anyway, the reason I mention Royce is that he’s part of the reason one of my favorite Proof stories even happened.

One day Proof called me at about 10 am an UNHEARD of time for either of us to be awake, unless we didn’t go to sleep from the night before. Proof was going to get dropped off at a celebrity basketball game to watch Royce perform & he wanted me to meet him there. It was my man Ron Rice’s event who played safety for the Detroit Lions at the time. I had actually played football in high school with Ron so I agreed. I got up there & it was at a some school gym. It was pretty packed. Royce was supposed to perform at halftime but the DJ equipment they had there kept fucking up. After one of Royce’s two twin dj’s made 2 or 3 attempts to start the show, me & Proof went & said our farewells to Royce & Ron & left.
Proof wanted to get his jewelry cleaned or check on a piece at Hutch’s spot Diamond Castle in Northland Mall so we headed that way. When we got there & were walking in Proof started talking shit about how big my feet were & how I always wore Timberlands & all white AirForce 1’s. I told him I wore a 12 like a real N**** & I wasn’t gonna be standing in front of a damn shoe rack for an hour trying to decide what shoes to wear. He said something slick back & we argued back & forth good naturally as we walked through the parking lot into the mall. Once we got into Northland we made a beeline for the jewelry spot, bullshitted w/ Hutch for a minute while Proof got his jewelry cleaned & then we left. Back out in the mall hallway Proof wanted to stop in Champs Sports for a minute & I went in some store that sold leather jackets or some shit. After I looked at some high priced coats I had no intention of buying, I went back to Champs & Proof was on the way out carrying two bags filled w/ shoeboxes. “12, right?” he said. “Here”, & pushed one of the bags at me. “Get some color in your life.” Proof kept walking while I looked in the bag, lifted one corner of the shoebox & peered inside. He had bought me some orange on white Nike Air Force 1 lows. I caught up to him & thanked him, which he brushed off. Then we got in my truck & headed for the strip club.

Fucking Proof.

That was an example of good Proof. Generous, good hearted dude. But PROOF would definitely do some crazy shit & put you in a cross unintentionally.
Like this one time…
One day
Proof hit me on the two-way & asked me if I was at Studio 54, the recording studio where Eminem, D12, & King Gordy recorded. I was managing King Gordy at the time so we were at the studio or at the office across the driveway almost everyday. I told him yeah I was across the street at the office what did he need. Proof wrote back that he was running late & Raekwon would be at the studio in a sec & would I wait with Rae until he gets there. I said “cool” b/c I had met Rae thru Power & we had hung out a couple times when he was in Detroit, & I actually had gone to his gig the night before & he had those Icewater dudes w/ him. I can’t recall if I talked to a road manager, one of the Icewater guys or Rae himself. All I know is that Proof gave somebody my cell number & they hit my Nextel & told me they were nearby, where should they park. I told them to pull into the studio’s rear parking lot & I’ll be outside. The guy told me that he wasn’t sure that the bus would fit. I was like, “The bus? Ya’ll are on the fucking tour bus?” The fuck? I told them that they would have to park in the alley near the office & walk over. It was an open secret that Eminem recorded at 54 Sound but parking a big ass tour bus in the parking lot was not an option. After they parked in an alley they started to disembark from the bus. It was like 8 of those guys. Still no Proof. Fuck this two-way shit, I started calling him, while Rae & his Icewater crew walked towards me. Proof wasn’t picking up, so I just gritted my teeth & walked them through the back door of the studio.I didn’t see the owner’s or Em’s car there so that was a relief, but I still wanted Proof to hurry the fuck up. I walked them through the back & passed by the office area, where the secretaries were. They looked at me w/ wide eyes & incredulous expressions as I walked by w/ 8 dudes. I got them settled in the lobby, turned the TV on & went in the office to call Proof again & explain to the secretaries what the fuck was joint on. After I explained they both chuckled. “Proof”. Sarah said while shaking her head. I was glad they understood but where the fuck was Proof? I had another thought & I called Boxx, then Eminem’s head of security & asked him if Em was planning on coming into the studio today & I explained to Boxx why I was asking. When I finished talking he was guiet for a second, then he said ” Wait, u mean to tell me that there are about 8 grimy Staten Island dudes there right now?” “Yup”, I responded. He hurriedly told me that he would call me back. After I hung up with Box I tried to call Proof again, still no fucking answer. I sent him a two-way message asking where the fuck he was, then I heard the back door open & heard talking. Joel Martin, the owner. A 40 something year old Jewish guy who wouldnt give a fuck about Raekwon or WuTang or whatever the fuck. He was in the Eminem business. Still no Proof. The girls brought Joel up to speed on the situation while I stood there looking stupid. Joel gave me the same wide eyed incredulous look that the girls had. I was getting sick of that look, quick. Joel said, ” I understand but Marshall’s on the way up here.” I nodded, but what the fuck was I supposed to do? Have them go to the other office? Tell them to wait on the bus? It was RAEKWON THE FUCKING CHEF from the WU FUCKING TANG CLAN. The dude who made the purple tape. I wasn’t telling him he had to leave. Besides, Proof was enroute, right? Suddenly my pants pocket rang & almost tore a hole in them trying to get to my phone. I just knew it was Proof. I was wrong. Boxx. As soon as I answered before I could even say ‘Hello’ Boxx said, ” Yup. That’s a 10-4″ he sounded like he was in his truck driving. “Proof there yet?” “Fuck naw”, I replied. “I dunno where that crazy muthafucka is.”

Boxx told me that Em would be there momentarily & that he had already wired him up about the situation & he was on his way too. I hung up w/ Boxx feeling a little better but there was Still. No. Fucking. Proof. I tried calling him again. This time the phone went straight to voicemail. I went back in the lobby where I had left the Hateful 8. I made small talk while I silently prayed that Proof would get to the studio before Marshall. I knew that Boxx had told him the deal, but standing in the lobby w/ Raekwon plus 7 dudes at one of the biggest stars in the world’s private studio session isn’t a good look.

I started to call Proof again but at that moment I heard the back door open & I was so sure it was him that I hung up the call & exhaled for the first time in 20 minutes. I relaxed & waited for Proof to pop out of that hallway. It was Proof alright. Yuh it was Proof if Proof was a blonde haired white guy who came around the corner of the studio into the galley of the fucking Amistad. I knew Boxx had wired him up but that didn’t stop him from giving me the same look as the girls & Joel Martin had. He put his head down, mumbled a barely audible “Wassup” & turned right sharply into the A Room. About 2.3 seconds later the engineer Mike Strange came out of the studio. “Hey Hex, Em wants to holler at you.” I didn’t even know this muthafucka was here. Where in the holy fuck was Proof? I walked slowly up the ramp like I was going to my own execution while Rae & his boys gave me the “Ooooh, you’re in trouble” look. “Whutupdoe”, I said, like the lobby didn’t look like Raekwon & some escapees from Attica. Just as Em was about to ask me why the studio lobby looked like the C.R.E.A.M. video set, the door swung open behind me & Proof nonchalantly strolled in, chatting w/ Rae. Before he could say anything I said, ” Dog, where were you? I was callllllllllling you!” He told me that he was at a hotel & he couldn’t find his phone, when he finally found it it had died. Ok. “Why didn’t you hit me on the two-way?” I asked. “That died, too” was his reply. I turned & said my farewells to Rae & Em & walled the fuck out of the A room, bumping into Boxx on the way out. “NOW everybody wants to come”, I muttered under my breath. I would find out later that Proof had been at a hotel down the fucking street from the studio. The whole ordeal had taken maybe 30 minutes but it seemed like a lifetime.

Fucking Proof.

That was bad Proof. When he would expect you to do some shit that only he could pull off, like bringing a member of the WuTang Clan & his whole travel party into the studio & not telling Eminem or the owner. Some real Proof shit. But this says it all…

One day Proof & his right hand man 1st Born came over my crib. They brought some Corona’s & we sat on the porch talking shit & drinking beer. I saw my brother driving on the other side of the island & said, ” There goes Ra”. Suddenly Proof lept off the porch & ran & clambered up the tree in my yard like a little spidermonkey. I found out later that his intention was to jump on my brother’s head. Me & 1st yelled at him, while my brother made the turn around the island towards my house. “Dog, what the fuck are you doing?” I yelled as he inched out on a limb. My brother parked & got out his truck looking up at Proof quizzically while he hung upside down from my tree limb. Suddenly the limb snapped & Proof came crashing down on his back & laid there for a second still clutching the tree limb. Everybody was too stunned to speak. We didn’t say shit, we just stared at Proof, lying on the grass holding that broken limb. He didn’t say shit either, he just laid there. Finally I said, “You ok, dog?” When I broke the silence, Proof jumped into action. “1st” , he croaked as he got off the ground. “Lets go”. Proof grabbed the wayward piece of tree, threw it in the back of his gray Yukon, & jumped in the driver’s seat, starting the vehicle while 1st climbed in the passenger side. My brother & I watched, confused, as they backed out of my driveway at a high speed. For some reason I ran to my ride & chased after them. I have no idea why. The word ” STUPID” comes to mind. The 96 freeway was right by my house & we both jumped on it, beading East. Two Yukon trucks, my older model & his newer flying down the freeway weaving in & out of traffic. At one point 1st pushed the damn branch out onto the road. Luckily I and the cars behind me avoided the limb & averted disaster. I chased Proof all the way to the East side, to Kilbourne & Gratiot. Dogmatic’s crib, where Sicknotes studio was. We laughed about that stupid-ass Dukes of Hazard bullshit we just did and drank some more beer & talked more shit on into the night. Little did I know that this tree debacle was just beginning.

Later that night around 3am I was in my house when I heard gunshots. Close gunshots. Like REAL close. In my front yard close. I grabbed my heater & peeked out my window & made out two figures. Proof & 1st Born. One of them knocked & I flew down the steps & flung open my front door. “What the fuck are ya’ll doing?” Proof grinned at me. “Me & your tree are beefing”, he said. “So I shot it”.

Fucking Proof.

He took this tree beef shit serious too. He attacked my man Marvwon’s bushes because he said that they were down with my tree. He sent me a fucking postcard from Norway talking shit about trees. & he didn’t just shoot my tree that one time. He shot it ALL the time. One time I had some chick over & there it went. ” POW! POW! POW!” The woman was startled. ” What the fuck! Is somebody shooting on your porch?” “Calm down”, I replied. “That’s just Proof shooting my tree.” Needless to say that was the last time I saw her.

Fucking Proof. .

That’s only 3 stories, I probably have over a 100 more. Everybody who knew him has a couple Proof stories in the chamber. Those are 3 of my personal favorites. I just wanted to share that shit w/ u guys so u could get past all that 1/6 of D12, 1/3 of 5 Ela & The Goon Sqwad, 1/2 of Promatic & Funky Cowboy & T-Stuckey’s man shit. Proof was 1/1. U know how I said that Proof was THE MAN STANDING NEXT TO THE MAN? Those who didn’t know him might see it that way, but he was THE MAN to me.

I miss that dude.

Fucking Proof.

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