Remember Me: 62 Rappers Pay Tribute to Tupac Shakur

[Editor's Note: In conjunction with the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death, XXL released an issue entirely dedicated to the rap icon in September 2011. One of the many stories, featured 62 rappers speaking on the impact 'Pac had on their careers. Here, XXL closes its week-long tribute to Tupac by revisiting this particular story. ]

*THESE QUOTES ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE 2011 SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF XXL*

1 of 62
  • Trina*
  • Vado
    Vado
    It’s impossible to sum up in words the impact Tupac Shakur had on hip-hop and the world. He was one of the first to explore outside of the music. He was an actor, an activist, a legend and, most of all, our brother.
  • David Banner*
    David Banner
    Tupac influenced me the most, not by what his per- ceived strengths were—it was his ability to show his weaknesses. He said it was all right to cry. As tough as he was and as tough as we are, we’re still human be- ings. And I think the humane side of ’Pac is what was most important to me, just the vulnerability of some- body who was perceived to be so strong. That’s what made the everyday man connect with him. He said he was scared. I felt that way, so it’s aight for me to be scared, as long as I still ride on these fools.
  • Dave of De La Soul*
    Dave of De La Soul
    He showed me, even in our time, when we were doing things fearlessly, we wasn’t doing it in vain.
  • Asher-Roth*
    Tupac will never die, which is rad. Sticking up for your- self and for what you believe in. Getting shot and still being like, “Nah, this is how I feel, how I live, what I do.” It’s impossible not to respect, appreciate and love that.
  • B.o.B*
    B.o.B
    Tupac was a revolutionary, and being a revolutionary takes more than shooting pistols and getting tattoos.
  • BEANIE SIGEL*
    Beanie Sigel
  • Big Sean*
    Big Sean
    ’Pac was one of the realest G’s. Definitely had some of the best music—very poetic. He laid a blueprint for a lot of rappers. He was one of the first rappers rocking Rolexes and just being super fresh.
  • Billy Danze of M.O.P.*
    Billy Danze of M.O.P.
    Every time I think about Tupac or hear a song, I think about how much work he put in. He could never have put in that much if he didn’t have passion for it. The things that he talked about, he actually believed.
  • Bun B*
    Bun B
    UGK owes a debt of gratitude to Tupac for showing that you don’t compromise your stance for money or fame. He showed us that you always ride for your friends and family and don’t turn your back in tough times.
  • Common*
    Common
    Tupac taught me that in truth there is freedom. He spoke his mind and said what was in his heart.
  • Crooked I*
    Crooked I
    "I'm goin' with San Francisco because their QB, Kaepernick, can beat you with his arms or his legs! Sorry Ray Lewis.
  • Posdnuos of De La Soul*
    Posdnuos of De La Soul
    ’Pac was amazing. He could literally put his heart on paper. He created timeless verses, where you can have someone now come along and put a beat today on it, but the verse itself sounds like he just wrote it yesterday, and he’s not even alive.
  • DJ Quik*
    DJ Quik
    You take for granted, when somebody is present, the times you guys are lifting weights, or going to perform in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, tonight. He’s cool, he’s loose, and he doesn’t seem like he’s nervous aboutit. Then he gets onstage and totally rips it up. It makes you wonder who could be that hard and who could also do Digital Underground, right? Tupac worked his ass off. Tupac was silly. I think he was a lot better than all of us, at his tenaciousness. He was like an endurance runner.
  • E-40*
    E-40 - "I Love My Momma" <i>Revenue Retrievin'</i> (2011)
    "Nobody like you, there's nobody else that I place above you/That's why I dedicate this song to you… I love you momma!"
  • Eminem*
    Eminem
    Tupac showed me how to incorporate emotion into song. Whether he was pissed off, happy, sad, whatever... he had the ability to let you know exactly how he was feeling. At the time, nobody was really bringing that type of emotional intensity into rap. And nobody’s really done it like him since.
  • Fat Joe*
    Fat Joe
    He was a smart guy, very intelligent, knew exactly what he was doing. But something in his brain would give him that “I don’t give a fuck” mentality. So I think—I’m just guessing right now—’cause his parents were Black Panthers and all that, he knew all about the struggle and all that, and his heart was into it. But at the same time, he had that “I’m a crazy nigga” mentality.
  • Flavor Flav*
  • Juicy J
    Juicy J
    He spoke his mind. He didn’t care about what nobody said. He just did him. Tupac kept it 100 to the fullest.
  • Freddie Gibbs*
    Freddie Gibbs
    No other rapper in the game, period, made you feel like Tupac. Nobody gives you that feeling—not anyone. That shit is unmatched. There’s some people where you say anything wrong about Tupac and you’ll get smacked.
  • Freeway*
    Freeway
    Tupac influenced me a lot, because he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and voice his opinion, and he always put his passion and heart into his music.
  • Game*
    Game
    Tupac was able to relate to and he was sort of going through trials and tribulations of his own life, so we appreciated him for that.
  • Glasses Malone*
    Glasses Malone
    Tupac’s influence made you want to be more honest. I know that’s kinda lame, but it’s true.
  • Jadakiss*
    Jadakiss
    His presence was felt like no other. It wasn’t all about lyrics. He was the whole package.
  • Jim Jones*
    Jim Jones
    [Back when he did] “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” I was just a believer in ’Pac. As a teenager, he definitely had me feel some way about his music. I remember seeing him on 2-5th [125th Street, in Harlem] when I was about 17, and he was like, “What up, shortie!?” I thought I was going to faint. ’Pac was dope, man. I used to get into fights, go upstairs, listen to his music, and come back downstairs and fight again. So that’s what ’Pac did for me.
  • Juelz Santana*
    Juelz Santana
    Tupac wasn’t even a person. He was, like, energy. He was a force that was around you. He always had this energy about him. When he came in the room, he demanded that attention, that respect. He was a very outspoken person. He was smarter than 85 percent of the people that’s in the rap game right now.
  • Kendrick Lamar*
    Kendrick Lamar
  • Ludacris*
    Ludacris
    He’s my No. 1 rapper just because of how he influenced so many people and the energy that he gave off. That’s how he motivated and impacted me. He was the definition of a leader.
  • Luke*
    Luke
    His lyrics were second to none. He was the guy that talked about social issues. When you really listen to certain artists, you hear things that directly affect people. Plenty of times, we’d be on the road, and we’d be sitting in a room just talking, and he’ll be telling me about what kind of artist he wanted to be, where he wanted to go at in life. He was just an inspiring guy. I’ll always love ’Pac. I used to joke with him that he walks around like George Jefferson. All he do is he walk around, short guy, Napoleon complex, and he just talk trash all day. Half of the stuff, you can’t take it serious.
  • Mac Miller*
    Mac Miller
  • Meek Mill*
    Meek Mill
    He spoke a lot of truth. He influenced a lot of young Black people to go hard and go and get it. Don’t settle for nothing else. Speak your mind.
  • N.O.R.E.*
  • Raekwon*
    Raekwon
    I looked at [’Pac] as a revolutionary. He stood for what- ever he believed in, and he brought a lot to the game. Overall, he was one of the great artists out there.
  • Rakim*
    Rakim
    Tupac brought that fire, that intensity, without sacrific- ing his lyrical content. He was showing you could still rep the street and stay hard, while showing emotion and talking about things at a higher level.
  • Saigon*
    Saigon - "If (My Mommy)" <i>Warning Shots</i> (2006)
    "If this world were mind, I would place it at your feet/All that I own, you've been so good to me."
  • Shawty Lo*
    Shawty Lo
    I like to tell a little story about when I first met Tupac. I didn’t really get a chance to say nothing to him. We were in Atlanta, Georgia. I think it was ’93. And I was on probation for, like, terroristic threats. [’Pac] was in the courtroom for, I think, shooting two officers in Atlanta, and he beat the case. I still didn’t know who he was. I end up going to prison in ’94. I had a radio, and a song came on called “Dear Mama.” And I remember thinking, Whoever that rapper is right there, he real hard.
  • Soulja Boy*
    Soulja Boy
    Before I got into the rap game, my mama always used to listen to ’Pac. My mama was a big ’Pac fan. After that, I started watching ’Pac movies, like Juice, Poetic Justice, and his albums, All Eyez on Me. And just under- standing what Tupac was. And that’s it.
  • Talib Kweli*
  • Tech N9ne*
  • Theophilus London*
    Theophilus London
    His presence and attitude onstage is inspiring.
  • Trae Tha Truth*
    Trae Tha Truth
    It was more than his music. Watching him over the years made you truly understand fighting the struggle and pain of life.
  • Dom Kennedy*
    <h2>Dom Kennedy - "My Type Of Party (Remix)"</h2>
    "That's for all you bloggers, I'm fuckin' the bitches that you bloggin' / Went Goyard retarded, and my VVS is flawless."
  • Tyga*
    Tyga
    ’Pac taught me to be a leader and that rappin’ wasn’t just music, it was poetry from the heart.
  • Waka Flocka Flame*
    Waka Flocka Flame
    Tupac is my favorite, favorite rapper of all time, hands down. When I was younger, his music helped me through my struggles. It touched every aspect of my life. He just made me feel like I had hope. His back was always to the wall, and people threw sticks and stones at him, and he had to keep blocking them. When I recorded [Flockaveli], that’s how I felt.
  • Wale*
    Wale
    Hands down the most influential human being for people in my environment’s generation.
  • will.i.am*
    From his start at Eazy E's Ruthless Records to the creation of the once-afro-soul Black Eyed Peas to his disco/DJ persona Zuper Blahq, will.i.am has continued to reinvent himself throughout his career. on Tuesday, he's set to drop his most recent solo album, #willpower, which will feature pop icons Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and K-Pop stars 2NE1. To celebrate Willy and his always-bold ventures into different areas of pop culture and music, we've compiled a gallery of photos of will.i.am's craziest fashion choices - another thing he's incessantly and fearlessly explored. Check it out.
  • Wiz Khalifa*
    Wiz Khalifa
    Tupac was ahead of his time and influenced many in the present and past.
  • Swizz Beatz*
    Swizz Beatz
    He gave the message but kept an edge. He was educat- ing people about making them think that it was Thug Life, but teaching everybody the whole time.
  • Yelawolf*
  • Maino*
    Maino
    He came from a more heartfelt place. It wasn’t so much about him being a lyrical artist. It was about him painting a picture you can relate to. It was, like, the soundtrack to whatever your lifestyle was.
  • Big K.R.I.T.
    Big K.R.I.T.
    "I think the Ravens will win. I'm thinking by 14 points. It will be dope to see Ray Lewis retire with a ring."
  • Papoose*
  • Elzhi*
    Elzhi
    Tupac influenced me to never think twice about writing what I feel. He wrote about joy, pain and everything in between. Nothing was off-limits.
  • Tony Yayo*
    Tony Yayo
    Tupac influenced me because he rhymed about the street stuff, the struggle. You’d see him in the streets. He get shot five times. You think, This guy’s invincible. And he comes back with his records that he’s not biting his tongue. I felt like everything was real about ’Pac.
  • Remy Ma*
    Remy Ma
    I
  • J. Cole*
    J. Cole
    He was the first rapper that I really fell in love with. Even before I could truly understand what he was saying. That was always gradual, and it still is. That’s my favorite fuckin’ part about being a Tupac fan.
  • Killer Mike*
    Killer Mike
    Tupac’s legacy, for me, has been speaking truth to power and never letting people forget about freedom fighters like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata [Shakur] and Mutulu Shakur, and Leonard Peltier. Because of his music, I am always aware that the streets need teach- ing and reaching.
  • Missy Elliot*
    Missy Elliot
    ’Pac was one of the few great rappers who spoke from many different perspectives. He could create songs that the streets could relate to and also deliver you messages.
  • Kool G Rap*
    Kool G Rap
    He’s beyond being a rapper. You would have to put ’Pac in a Muhammad Ali type of class. He was a hero to his people for what he stood up for. ’Pac might not fit into everybody’s definition of what makes the best rapper, but he’s beyond that to me, because he’s a fuckin’ hero.
  • Black Rob*
    <h2>Black Rob</h2>
    Signed to Bad Boy in 1996, and went on to release two albums with the label. Rob no longer associates with Diddy or Bad Boy.
  • Gorilla Zoe*
    Gorilla Zoe
    Tupac made it cool to be a thug, made it cool to be a have-not. You could actually be from the projects, man, broke and have no lights on, and the girls liked it. He also made it cool to be conscious. I think that’s the biggest thing of his legacy.
  • #tupacshakur-featured