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The 411: Lil Wayne vs. Big Proof

It's been 3 years...we miss you P!

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When the ‘I Am Music’ tour makes a stop here next week featuring Lil Wayne and hot newcomer Kerri Hilson, it makes you wonder how Weezy’s ticket sales will fair against Proof’s. I can see it now…”Lil vs. Big.” Event calendars on several social networks are full of parties inviting guest lists to venues all around town. So many events, so little time but for true hip hop loyalists, there is only one. As the day approaches, 4/11 has become synonymous to Detroiters as the day for mayor’s time—and hell no, we are not referring to Kwame.

The Detroit hip hop community has immortalized the late MC, Proof, as the Mayor of Detroit for his influential role in the rap game, dating back to the 1990s. Family, friends and fans will have an opportunity to pay homage to ‘P’ at the Shelter as the official Proof tribute concert kicks off on the third anniversary of his death. “I think this show will be in the spirit of Big P and give us back some unity like he would have continued to do if he was here”. ~Dogmatic, one half of Promatic

When: Saturday, April 11, 2009 Detroit, MI

Organized by 1stBorn of Iron Fist Records and Proof’s great-spirited mom, Pepper, the tribute concert will feature a respectable line-up of performers and will be hosted by Mark Da Spark. Scheduled performances include: 5 Ela, PhatKat, Dogmatic, KillaKaunn of Purple Gang, the Raw Collection and many others. All proceeds will go to the Proof  Foundation. A special guest appearance will be made by Trick Trick so you know security will be extra thick thick (I’m kidding…but hell, probably).

1stBorn on the importance of this tribute concert: “Proof pioneered and helped pave the way for Detroit Hip Hop. It’s important for the new generations to know who Proof was and what he meant to Detroit. This is an annual event and will be held as long there is breath in our bodies.”

1stBorn and Big ProofFor those not familiar with Proof or who don’t understand the legacy he created within the Detroit hip hop community, he is what Tupac is to New York and Cali or what Biggie is to Brooklyn. Lots of people make champagne wishes and caviar dreams on their way up, promising to carry those within their inner-circles on the road of success. Proof’s actions spoke louder than his words because he actually did it. In a world full of player-haterism, this is rare. In a society where relationships are jaded once new money starts stacking where the cupboard was once bare, Proof stayed the same. Imagine a platinum-selling artist waltzing into a Detroit eastside party store off Kilbourne and Gratiot—being playful by talking sh*t to the store workers, all in fun. At times, no one knew who the hell he was. And even when the face recognition did kick in, Proof didn’t get Hollywood with it. He stayed the same.

“I would like for people to know how much of an intellectual Proof really was aside from his work ethic, which was phenomenal… Proof was a real dude from the streets of Detroit who became a mainstream artist that was trying to take his people off the streets and put some money in their pockets”. ~1stbeezy

TJ “Detroit Streets” of FM98WJLB.com: “From Osborn [High School] to Hollywood he was a helluva talent, Detroit’s shining light”.

“If Proof was here he would still be one of the only advocates for Detroit hip-hop that would open doors into the industry for Detroit artists--dropping projects on a regular basis creating a buzz with each release. While doing that he would have formed an army of Detroit soldiers that stuck together rather than hated on each other. ~DJ Jewels Baby, Priceless Music

In the days of the infamous Hip Hop Shop, Proof hosted the legendary open mic and started a movement tProof + Dogmatic = Promatichat allowed artists, DJs and hip-hop heads to break bread. The Detroit bubble was about to blow. And once it did burst, Proof was swept up in the whirlwind of Eminem’s solo success, working on tours and recording with D12. Dogmatic, who formed the duo-group “Promatic” with Proof adds, “Since Proof died most of the crews that he started or mentored have had problems sticking together and looking out for each other. It’s like Proof was the glue for all of us and now that he's gone, there's nobody to say ‘Ay! Y’all trippin’-- we fam!’ And without that, the Detroit hip hop scene suffers socially and musically. Man I miss that nigga...never thought I would miss somebody chasing me around with snot, (lol) but I do.”

It was Proof who touched back down in the D to sow the seed for other artists to grow beyond the confines of the Murder Mitten. He continued to stay on the hip-hop scene and bless the mike at the Lush on Wednesdays, the Shelter on Fridays or the Magic Stick on any given Sunday. It’s easy for a person with newfound wealth to spread it around and dole out money, but Proof taught his people “how to fish”.

“Ever since Proof left us the rap game has definitely suffered in Detroit and hasn't been the same since. Proof's main goal was to unify everybody and make ways for everyone to get money out of this industry. I miss his witty, uplifting, and loving personality. Proof was family to me like a big brother!” ~Dewitt Moore- De Notes, formerly of SickNotes

Miz Korona and Proof once told me a story about their long-standing friendship. He had a nickname for everyone. Proof teased her by calling her “Pimpette”, Miz Korona’s original moniker. (Instead of calling me “Dot”, I was known to Proof as “Tod backwards”, lol). Lyrically, Miz Korona felt Proof made her better by challenging her during rap battles, and as you can still hear today, she’s one of the dopest rappers out there—notice I didn’t say “dopest female rapper” because with Miz Korona, she assassinates a track thus it goes farther beyond gender. She is the “Definition of Dope”.

“Since Proof passed it seems like it’s been a hole in the heart of Detroit hip hop and it’s taking us a while to heal but we’re starting to slowly but surely.—[his name, legacy, and love for Detroit hip hop and the City] as well. He wouldn’t want anything but that. He wanted so much for us as artists and we’re stepping up to the plate to carry on.” ~Miz Korona, MC & 8 Mile Movie co-star

1stBorn’s acknowledgements: “Shouts to all the artists that's performing who were really only a phone call away, to Runyon Ave, Executive Board, Final Phantasy, SickNotes, The Ritz, Surething Promotions, SkyFox, Cnt C Me Ent, Live Nation, Industry Works/UMG, ITW Marketing, Kahlid El Hakim, Priceless Music Ent., my East Coast clans, and my West Coast comrads. And all my peoples who know how to holler at me outside of the club where business gets done. Anybody interested in sponsoring this or any future events can contact me personally at (646) 651-6776 1stborn.ironfist@gmail.com or www.myspace.com/1stbeezyif”

For more info: Keep it locked here for updates and listen to FM98WJLB.com for a special tribute show on "What's Next on The Menu?" Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 9pm-10pm.

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