It’s been almost 20 years since Tupac Shakur’s tragic death in 1997. However, because of his impact on music and hip-hop culture overall, his legacy still lives on. With artists like Nas, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem directly influenced by his lyrics and music, they all paid and continue to pay tribute to the late west coast rapper.
Following Kendrick Lamar’s piece for Paper magazine’s “Lost Leaders of the Game” on Tupac, the publication taps Detroit rapper, Eminem, to chime in on Tupac’s legacy. In his piece, he writes an insightful essay that describes everything from his first time listening to Tupac, to the emotional response he felt when relating to the rap legend’s lyrics.
He was taking things further than a lot of rappers at the time — pushing it to the next level as far as giving feeling to his words and his music. A lot of people say, “You feel Pac,” and it’s absolutely true. The way he chose which words to say with which beat was genius; it’s like he knew what part of the beat and what chord change was the right place to hit these certain words… to make them jump off the track and make you feel what he was saying. Like, listen to “If I Die 2Nite.” Whatever he was rapping about, it was urgent. If it was a sad song, it’d make you cry. But there were a lot of different sides to him: fed-up, angry, militant, having a good time. His spirit spoke to me because it was like you knew everything that he was going through, especially when he made Me Against the World. You just felt every aspect of his pain, every emotion: when he was happy, when he was sad. His ability to touch people’s lives like that was incredible.
For the full essay and to ready other testimonies from the article, check it out here.
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Find out how Marshall Matter’s paid tribute to the late great Tupac Shakur.