Em wrote the letter for Paper Magazine‘s Nowstalgia issue and recounts Tupac’s influence on him, from the first time he heard him at 18 or 19 to producing one of his posthumous albums Loyal To The Game.
“He was taking things further than a lot of rappers at the time,” wrote Em referring to Tupac’s heyday.
“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.”
He particularly touches on Tupac’s iconic third album Me Against The World, which turned 20 this year, saying, “it was like you knew everything that he was going through.”
Em further praised Pac’s versatility, writing that he was able to cater for every different mood you were in – something that he’s obviously learnt from when you think of the different between Shady’s Cleaning Out My Closet and Without You, for example.
Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur gave Em her blessing to use the late rapper’s vocals for the 2004 record Loyal To The Game which bagged a hit with Ghetto Gospel featuring Elton John on the hook.
“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,” Em wrote, recounting the experience.
“It was such a significant piece of history for me and so much fun. I’m like a kid in a candy store; going nuts with the fact that I’m putting beats under his rhymes.”
He ended the letter summing up everything Tupac did as “true genius.”
Earlier in the year, Kendrick Lamar wrote a short but heartfelt tribute to Tupac on the 19th Anniversary of his death. “The people that you touched on that small intersection changed lives forever,” he wrote.
In the same Nowstalgia issue of Paper Magazine, Lamar penned a tribute to N.W.A. member Eazy-E. The magazine is still yet to publish Swizz Beats’ tribute to Notorious B.I.G.
You can read the Eminem’s full tribute to Tupac here.
Watch: Tupac – Ghetto Gospel (Feat. Elton John)