Rappers Eminem and Tupac Shakur came from different places and had different approaches to hip-hop. But Tupac is considered by many to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, including Eminem himself.

Tupac Shakur in 1994 | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Tupac Shakur was one of the greatest rappers of the 1990s

Tupac rose to fame in the early 1990s at a time when New York and the East Coast dominated hip-hop. With his unique take on rap, Tupac won the West Coast crown and was at the forefront of the infamous rivalry between East Coast hip-hop and West Coast hip-hop in the mid of the 1990s.

Tupac was unexpectedly shot and killed in 1996, leaving the music industry reeling without one of his most outspoken vocals. A few years later, when Detroit-born rapper Eminem shot to fame, he wanted to pay tribute to Tupac in a big way.

Eminem performing at the 2002 MTV Movie Awards

Eminem | M. Caulfield/WireImage

Eminem produced a posthumous Tupac album

Following Tupac’s death, several posthumous albums were released containing old recordings by the late rapper and other previously unreleased material. In 2004, Eminem wanted to create his own tribute to the rapper with his own posthumous project.

To move forward, he contacted Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur. “I wrote Afeni and said, ‘Please consider letting me produce this album,'” he told MTV News in 2004. lifelong fan of Tupac… his music, his personality, his everything. Being able to produce a song or two is a dream. So I just left him a quick note to let him know what his son means to me as well than for many other people in the industry.

“She gave me the blessing, she gave me the nod and I was like, ‘Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity,'” he continued. The album, titled True to the gamewas released in 2004 and featured collaborations with Elton John, G-Unit and Jadakiss.

“I was given Tupac a cappellas and I went crazy with them,” he admitted. “It’s been a longtime dream of mine to be able to produce not just other artists, but someone I look up to in general. People will see when it comes out. That’s what it is. , I’m hitting it right now.

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Eminem couldn’t believe he had the opportunity to create a Tupac album

Eminem recounted his experience bringing the album to life in a 2015 interview with Paper magazine. “When his mother, Afeni, let me produce one of Tupac’s albums – the True to the game album – I wrote her a letter thanking her for letting me do it,” he recalls. “You couldn’t tell 18/19 year old Marshall that he could one day get his hands on Tupac’s voice and have that opportunity. It was such an important piece of history to me and so much fun I’m like a kid in a candy store, going crazy with the fact that I put beats under his rhymes.

Still, he acknowledged that it was a delicate process and that he didn’t want to tarnish Tupac’s legacy when he had no control over the music that was released. “Regardless of how good a rapper is, it’s easy for things to go out of style. But when you do songs like Tupac, songs that sound like something, that feeling never goes away,” Eminem concluded. “He was so good at evoking emotions through songs and I got so much out of it.”

“Biggie had that too,” he added. “It was the same kind of thing…he was so good at putting together the right words and the right music. I would find it hard to believe they didn’t know what they were doing when they put certain words on certain chords pace. I would find it hard to believe it was all accidental. He was a real genius.”

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