Considered by many as the best lyricist D12 has to offer, Proof is gearing up to stake his own claim in Hip-Hop as a serious MC.
As he searches for Jerry Garcia, Hip-Hop is in search of Proof, a real MC not afraid to speak his mind and break open the mold of commercial Hip-Hop.
Rukas sat down with Proof for an in depth interview for StreetHop.com. Unfortunately Proof died before it was published. Here is the first part.
Why name the album searching for Jerry Garcia?
Cause to me Jerry Garcia was one of the most profile artists, he is the apitamy of what it is to be an artist you know what I mean? He crossed boundaries, he took protests, he did everything. His momentum wasn't built off record sales, his momentum was built off the love of what music was to him and of what music he wanted to make, so that made me want to **** with Jerry Garcia and the artist he was. Plus his demise came through drugs, stress and poor diet, which like even if you don't have all three you got one of them mother fuckers in your life, whether you're fucking with some weed or not eating right with some McDonald's you feel me? We find Jerry Garcia in that type of **** so we all searching for him in a way; you just don't know it.
So is he someone that you'd listen to?
Nah I never fucked with the Grateful Dead like that, Im straight out on some hood **** or whatever you wanna call it, I just happened to see a documentary on his life and at that point in my life he touched me in that moment, my moment that I shared with him touched me enough to redirect my album in that direction.
And then the songs on the album are named after other artists, what was the process in choosing track names?
Actually I wasn't going to name my album Searching For Jerry Garcia, it was going to be called A 101 Words That Rhyme With Orange, and then each song on that album was going to be named after people that touched me in certain moments of my life, that I would consider an icon, I picked like "Kurt Cobain", I had like "Tina Turner", "Billy Holiday" and certain songs that didn't make the album, they were just moments of my life and I just wanted to use those people to capture that moment.
It's very rare for an artist to sign such a spotlight on other artists, especially in Hip-Hop where it seems to be "me, me, me, my crew, my crew," did anyone every question your motives, like, "these people ain't even relevant to Hip-hop"?
To me, it doesn't matter what they're talking about, because Hip-Hop is an art form, Hip-Hop is not a fad, Hip-Hop ain't something that's going to come here for a minute and then go away, Hip-Hop is real to me. So I don't care what anybody else thinks. Me making my music and what I do is not about what another man thinks, it's about how I feel and what I want to project to the world, that's it. I don't gotta fit an image, or a certain criteria of what they consider an artist to be, you feel me?
Is that one of the reasons why you went independent and didn't drop on Shady Records, you just trying to do you?
The reason I want independent is, because I'm already on a major, D12 is on a major, why would I go take my life and give it to another major, it's my voice, my voice should be my voice and I should be able to control my voice and do it the way I wanna do it. Why should I let somebody else control it, corporate America, some guy sitting behind a desk that cares less about Hip-Hop, so therefore I thought let me do it myself, put it out myself, and that way Hip-Hop stays sweet, Hip-Hop stays real to me.
Can I ask you a question, [the album] was nothing like you expected it to be was it?
It was actually, We've been following your mixtapes...
Oh right right right right, okay, so you know whats up, that's cool. Out of everybody that's talked to me, you just said the realest ****; you're right. Cause if you followed the mixtapes you would have had a hint of how is Proof gonna come, cause the mixtapes was conditioning; you make complete sense.
I was pleased with the mixtapes and the album because they're Proof, they're not D12, they're not just the D12 formula, that must have been hard to do, to stay away from the temptation.
Yeah it was, but I would never make a D12 album as a Proof album, that would be senseless, that would be cheating the fans. Thats the thing man, everybody else cheating the fans, they robbing them, they robbing them by making whoever the main guy is, making songs that sound like that guy. Why would I make a song that sound like Eminem when he's my best friend and the hottest rapper in the world? Why would I make that cross over song that sounds like Eminem's cross over songs? I'm Proof.
So whats the future of Proof?
There's a third D12 album in the works, Shady Records try to act like it ain't but it is. I'm just dropped a mixtape called "I Killed Spider Man," which is like a throw back mix CD, I'm dropping Super MC and artists on my label, in December I'm dropping another mixtape with all new material, and I start recording my next album in February. In between that I'm trying to tour, and I'm trying to work something out to come back your way!