Oct. 2 is the day we celebrate the birthday of a deceased great. This time, it's Detroit's Proof, one of the best lyricists to come out of the city and one of Eminem's closest friends. He would've been 42 years old today.

Eminem recounted in his biography, The Way I Am, that it was Proof who showed him the ropes of surviving in Detroit and inspired him to continued rapping. Although he never reached the same level of success (and nobody did; Eminem is the highest-selling rapper of all time), Proof was respected as a formidable freestyle rapper. He appeared in The Source's Unsigned Hype and has a gem of a freestyle with Eminem available on YouTube.

Proof released two solo albums, I Miss the Hip Hop Shop and Searching for Jerry Garcia, but his mainstream career was due to being a member of D12. The clique was featured in Eminem's two masterpieces, The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, which both featured standout Proof verses.

In the video for "Like Toy Soldiers," off Slim Shady's Encore, Proof appeared as a deceased friend who's a casualty of needless feuding. It ended up being a prescient moment: In 2006, Proof was shot and killed during a bar altercation in Detroit. The death spiraled Eminem into a lengthy hiatus after Encore and left a huge hole in the Detroit rap scene.

Listen to Proof's "Kurt Kobain"

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