From: Detroit, MI
Signature Song: Proof "Kurt Kobain" (2005)
Trust us, this is not a case of dead rappers getting better promotion. Proof is on this list for two reasons. First, he was an incredibly influential member of Detroit's thriving underground scene where-before blowing up-he hosted (and participated in) batte-rap competitions including battles at Detroit's legendary Hip-Hop Shop. Proof was the inspiration for the character Future in 8 Mile, who was portrayed by Mekhi Phifer.
The second reason Proof is on here is for his work on D12's underrated debut, Devil's Night. True, the main reason we love that album is because Eminem was absolutely on fire at the time, but the best song on the album, "That's How," doesn't even feature an Eminem verse.
As Mr. Porter once told us, "That [album] was Proof and Em. They masterminded that whole D12 project." And don't sleep on Proof's debut, Searching For Jerry Garcia, an album obsessed with deceased musicians-which Proof would tragically become himself.