Eminem Says Tupac “Was a Superstar in Every Aspect of the Word,” In a Moving Tribute

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Since he was teenager, Eminem has felt a special bond with Tupac. The young Marshall Mathers grew up idolizing the immortalized MC and, years later as a well-established artist and producer, Em would have the opportunity to produce an album full of Tupac material. Thus, it was fitting that Paper magazine, as part of its series of articles with MCs celebrating fallen icons, would have Eminem write a piece about Pac. Em joins Kendrick Lamar, who penned some words about Eazy-E, and Swizz Beatz who is documenting his thoughts about The Notorious B.I.G.

Em wrote about the first time he ever heard Tupac, citing “I Get Around” as the song, but it was Pac’s album Me Against the World that resonated with Marshall the most:

“By the time he got to Me Against the World, it was him at his pinnacle. He’s off and running. He knows what he wants, and he’s figured out how he wants to be and how he wants to sound — everything. I would probably put that up against anything as far as a classic hip-hop album goes.”

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Em also discussed the technical side of Tupac’s approach to rapping–an aspect that is often neglected in discussions about Shakur. “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,” wrote Marshall. He cited Tupac’s skill at meshing his words with the music as another parallel that he and Biggie shared. “Biggie had that as well. It was that same kind of thing… he was so good at putting the right words and music together. I would have a hard time believing that they didn’t know what they were doing when they were putting certain words on certain chords of the beat.”

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In one of the most heartfelt moments in the article, Eminem wrote explicitly about the significance for him of being able to produce a Tupac album:

“When his mother, Afeni (Shakur), let me produce one of Tupac’s albums — the Loyal to the Game album — I wrote her a letter thanking her for letting me do it. You wouldn’t be able to tell the 18/19-year-old Marshall that he would ever be able to get his hands on some Tupac vocals and have that opportunity. It was such a significant piece of history for me and so much fun.”

To read Eminem’s extensive piece in its entirety, check out the full article at Paper magazine.

Related: Finding The GOAT (The Final Battle): Eminem vs. Tupac…Who You Got?