The undated letter, which was addressed to Tupac’s mother Afeni, also includes a rough portrait that Eminem had sketched of the late rapper, which he kicks off the message by apologising for:
“Sorry if it looks a little sloppy”, he says. “I could’ve done a little better if I had the right pencils.”
It’s not often that we get to see a softer side of Marshall Mathers, who just unleashed an apeshit blockbuster of a music video for his fearsome new single Phenomenal. But the real Slim Shady is certainly on display in this heartfelt message to Mrs. Shakur.
“When I was feeling at my ‘worst’ (before fame, before Dre), I knew I could put that ‘Tupac’ tape in and, suddenly, things weren’t so bad,” he writes. “He gave me the courage to stand up and say, ‘Fuck the world! This is who I am! And if you don’t like it, go fuck yourself!'”
Although, as Rolling Stone points out, the sketch and letter both appeared in the 2008 book Tupac Remembered, interest has been renewed en masse since a copy recently popped up on Reddit.
“Thank you for always being so kind to me,” Em tells Mrs. Shakur in the missive. “You are a true Queen, and I mean that in every sense of the word. I will never forget the opportunities you have given me. You will always be in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers.
“As I have said before, you have no idea how much your son and his music has inspired not only the ‘hip-hop’ world but, speaking for myself, has inspired my whole career,” he continues. “He was and still is the true definition of a ‘soldier.'”
The Detroit rapper then signs off the note: “Thank you for giving us his spirit, and yours! God bless you! Love, Marshall.”
According to NME, the letter is currently on display in the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, which was founded by his mother Afeni in 1997.
Check out copies of Eminem’s sketch and letter to Afeni Shakur, below, or have a gander for his new video for Phenomenal via Apple Music.