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-- by Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Lauren Lazin and MTV News staff

We started off asking members of the hip-hop community to name their favorite Tupac song, but in many instances it was just too difficult. Some told us that it was impossible — picking a favorite Pac song is like choosing Michael Jordan's best moment from his sports highlight reel.

Hampering the hip-hoppers' selection process was the fact that Pac's catalog is so expansive, and that he had the ability to strike so many emotional chords in his records. "Dear Mama" made you want to cry when you first heard it. "California Love" is an indispensable party record. "Definition of a Thug N---a" is three-plus minutes of Pac's most articulate and incisive street analysis.

So we rephrased the question. We instead asked some of your favorite artists to pick a song that they would put on a Tupac mixtape and explain why that cut stands out to them. Here's what 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, P. Diddy, Ja Rule, Nas and others said ...

Complete Tupac Mixtape

Snoop Dogg, "Under Pressure"
Nas,  "Trapped"
50 Cent, "The Realest Killas"
Pharrell, "Holler If U Hear Me"
P. Diddy, "So Many Tears"
Loon, "Against All Odds"
Nelly, "Ambitionz Az a Ridah"
Ghostface Killah, "I Ain't Mad At Cha"
Lil Jon, "I Get Around"
Lil' Mo, "Keep Ya Head Up"
Mary J. Blige, "Brenda's Got A Baby"
Juvenile, "Pour Out A Little Liquor"
Eminem, "Dear Mama"
Ja Rule, "So Much Pain"

Nas: A lot of people just got into Tupac because of the sensationalism, the controversy in his life. But a lot of people like myself that's just into rap music have been up on him since his first recordings. When you heard his debut, "Same Song," with Digital Underground, then "Trapped," you were like, "Wow, here goes a guy with substance."

"So Many Tears"

P. Diddy: It's definitely one of the most slept-on classics from Tupac. The sound of that record, the emotion is so poetic, it's so crazy. You hear people bring back a lot of the hardcore stuff or thug-life stuff, but "So Many Tears" is so deep. He just opens up his whole soul. The kid was deep. The kid was before his time. He was a genius.

Mack 10: That was off the chain. He used that Stevie Wonder [sample]. It was just raw.

David Banner: He spoke about things that young black males thought, but didn't verbally express.

"Realest Killas"

50 Cent: I enjoy that record more than I enjoy some of my solo records 'cause I got a chance to work with him, even though I didn't physically get a chance to work with him. It was cool to actually build that record.

"Against All Odds"

Loon: This was a man who was at his last straw in dealing with a certain situation that was going on in his life. I think he addressed it in his rawest form. Just the whole vibe Pac created in the song made you feel his anger.

"Ambitionz Az a Ridah"

Nelly: I remember the first time I heard that joint. I was with my partner, he had an '82 Cutlass. He just put that joint on and he turned that sh-- up and it blew his [speakers]. The beat, it just blew my mind. The beat alone will drive you nuts.

"I Ain't Mad at Cha"

Ghostface Killah: The beat. I love that one. Give me that same beat, I would tear it down with Pac.

"I Get Around"

Lil Jon: I remember when it came out. It was hot, I was DJing in the club then. It used to get the club crunk. I used to play it all the time.

Mike Tyson: I like that record because when it was out, Tupac used to come visit me in jail.

"Keep Ya Head Up"

Lil' Mo: It proved that Pac was a thug with a good heart.

"Brenda's Got a Baby"

Mary J. Blige: He dealt with the truth. He touched on women having babies too young. He touched on a lot of women not being secure with themselves. That's why a lot of women really liked him, because he always was in the struggle for us. He was the only man doing that. When everybody else was calling women "bitches" and "hoes," Pac was saying, "Keep ya head up."

"Soulja's Story"

Outkast's Andre 3000,: The way he changed his voice, it sounded kind of demonic.
Big Boi: It was hard! It was a slow beat and he was bussin'!

"Under Pressure"

Snoop Dogg: "When the pressure's on it's a hit, ski mask extra gat bring the clip/ Don't nobody move when we walk the streets, they say silence 'cause talk is cheap, yeah." That sh-- was cold.

"Still Ballin'"

Jermaine Dupri: The title is self-explanatory.

"Pour Out a Little Liquor"

Juvenile: That was the turning point in his career to me. As far as people in the ghetto, it was a whole lot of murder in the country. It was a lot of people who were missing and mourning people at the time.

"Holler If U Hear Me"

WC: It's deep and straight to the point.

Pharrell Williams: Tupac was a mean lyricist. He expressed himself very clearly. He was always real clear, a poet.

"Dear Mama"

Sean Paul: It's dedicated to his mom, and that's a very strong tune because sometimes people who are big men in society, they don't like to show their love for their moms. I don't understand why, but that's a big one, in terms of a [person] known for some hardcore things and then to just soften it right down. He gave way to reality.

Ice Cube: To me it's the record that really broke Tupac. It shows how deep that brother really is.

Eminem: If you had tough times with your mother, [that song] made you almost wanna go, "Awww, mom." It made you wanna overlook everything you were going through. That song lasted about a straight year in my life. In the car .. I was just playing it every day.

Missy Elliott: He was a rare breed. You're only gonna get one Tupac. He was blessed with a gift that don't circle around and trickle on everybody.

"So Much Pain"

Ja Rule: They'll never forget Pac. Ever ever ... They felt Pac. Ain't too many n---as who get felt. He was felt like no other artist.

  See how a young Eminem was affected by the hip-hop icon's death and how he's now gone on to produce several Tupac tracks for the film (Eminem: Reconstructing Tupac).

  Here Snoop Dogg tells us how Tupac played a role in his  marriage (Snoop: Tupac Saved My Love Life).

Check out more of our Feature Interviews

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Photo: Interscope

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