Tupac Shakur Will Be Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame By Snoop Dogg
UPDATE: The original March 26 story erroneously reported that Mopreme Shakur was recently deceased. We apologize for that mistake and any confusion it may have caused. In fact, Mopreme’s Thug Life band-mate Big Syke is the artist whose obituary we linked to in that statement, and intended to report.
In late December, it was confirmed that Tupac Shakur would be the latest rapper to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. The announcement was controversial to some who decried rappers and MCs being honored in Rock’s sacred shrine in Cleveland, Ohio. On April 7, the induction ceremony will take place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur died of a heart attack last May. There was speculation as to who would induct the late superstar in her absence. Some of those closest to Shakur at points in his career include group Tha Outlawz (which is now a duo of E.D.I. and Young Noble), with past members Hussein Fatal and Big Skye each passing away in the last two years. Former record executive and manager Suge Knight, who was at Shakur’s side when he was shot in the drive-by shooting that would eventually cost him his life, is incarcerated and awaiting trial for murder. Record exec Tom Whalley, who signed Shakur to Interscope in the early ’90s, has been made executor of his music estate.
This weekend it has been confirmed by Rolling Stone that Snoop Dogg will be the one to induct Shakur into the Hall. Snoop and ‘Pac were friends for more than three years, even prior to their historic tenure as Death Row Records label-mates in 1995 and 1996. Having met at a 1993 wrap-party for Poetic Justice (which starred ‘Pac), the two had mutual associations, and bonded instantly.
“I’m the reason he was on Death Row Records,” Snoop told Drink Champs in 2016. “Speaking with Suge [Knight] after [Tupac Shakur] had gotten shot [in 1994], I had flew to New York like the next day. Shit was goin’ bad for him; he had gotten locked up. ‘Suge, we need to put that nigga with us, cuzz.’” He detailed their meeting too. “[The] Poetic Justice wrap party was the first night I met him, and we became friends. Actually, MC Breed—rest in peace—was trying to buy some dope. I knew the nigga that knew the nigga, so Breed got some dope from me. Breed and [The] D.O.C. was cool [as was Tupac and MC Breed], and that’s how we all became a circle of friends. Believe it. Real Hip-Hop.” Early this year, Snoop told a similar story on his GGN program, revealing that the two MCs nearly battled that night. “[The event has] a mic. [The] DJ starts DJ’ing. Tupac grabs the mic, he start rapping; I grab the mic, I start rapping. But, I’m rapping aggressive, ’cause at this time I’m like one of them battle rappers so I’m aggressive. So, he come back, he aggressive and it sound like we kinda like battling each other. So, we get off to a like a wrong start but you could tell we both dope as a motherfucker so its like we not really gonna go there…So, when we finish rapping we go outside I’m like, ‘Nigga my name’s Snoop.’ He like, ‘My name’s ‘Pac,’ and he break open a blunt and that nigga roll a blunt with me. That’s my first time ever hitting a blunt.”
In 1994, ‘Pac would make a cameo in Murder Was The Case, a straight to video film directed by Dr. Dre and starring Snoop. For that soundtrack, the two artists recorded “Life’s So Hard.” However, the song would not surface until after Shakur’s death, as an alternate mix on the Gang Related soundtrack and other compilations. Thereafter, the duo made a high-profile collaboration care of 1996’s “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” on the diamond-certified All Eyez On Me. The Daz Dillinger-produced single was the second from the #1 album, following “California Love.” They also worked together on “All Bout U.”
That song was among those performed during a Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg set at 2012’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Shakur was projected onto screens, during his part with 3D effects that resembled a hologram. His likeness was used with permission from Afeni Shakur.
The most famous collaboration would get a lesser known sequel, “Wanted Dead Or Alive” on the Gridlock’d soundtrack. That compilation also included ‘Pac’s collabo with Snoop and The L.B.C. Crew, “Out The Moon (Boom, Boom, Boom).” Snoop Dogg left Death Row a year and half after Pac’s death. In 2006, Snoop appeared on the title track from Pac’s Life, alongside T.I. and Chris Starr. That remix song was produced by L.T. Hutton, also a film producer deeply involved with this June’s All Eyez On Me.
Presently, there is still debate regarding possible performers for the Tupac-related portion of the April 7 event. While TMZ initially alleged that “California Love” and “Can’t C Me” producer Dr. Dre (who was inducted last year) was in consideration, Rolling Stone verifies that nothing has been cemented. Besides Dre and Snoop, some of the living collaborators of Shakur’s most recognized hits include Digital Underground’s Shock G, Scarface, K-Ci & JoJo, and Tha Outlawz.
Tupac also worked extensively with Snoop’s 213 band-mates, Warren G and Nate Dogg in the mid-1990s, through the group Thug Life.
Last April, Kendrick Lamar symbolically inducted the surviving members of N.W.A. into the hall of fame. On a related note, Eazy-E died 22 years ago today.