It’s one of the moments you just don’t forget. Most hip-hop fans can remember exactly where they were when they heard Tupac Skakur died, 14 years ago on September 13. While celebrating the 2010 VMAs in Los Angeles over the weekend, some of your favorite artists took time out to remember one of music’s biggest icons.
“I’m from Carol City, and in Carol City we got a park [where] if somebody passes away, we go to the park,” Rick Ross told MTV News. “So if something happen, we split up, go to the park. So I’ll never forget: I was coming home and riding by the park. I saw all my homies, Chevys lined up. I was like, ’Damn, somebody died.’ ”
Ross said he had just been at the park a week prior mourning the loss of a childhood friend, Little Pete, who was killed in a vehicular accident. The day ’Pac died, Ross had déjà vu.
“I see everybody there again; I’m like, ’Damn, what done happened?’ I pull up, people crying.”
Thoughts raced through Ross’ mind. ” ’Who this finnin to be now?’ ” he recalled wondering.
“The way my homies was there, and everybody I knew was there, I just knew one of my closest homies was dead. That’s when I realized the influence this man had on this generation,” Ross said of the Death Row MC. “These people were crying like they were the week before when one of my best friends I knew since first grade died. The same amount of people were there for Tupac and had never met him a day before in their life. That’s when I realized what Tupac meant to the people. I’m pretty sure I’ve never witnessed anything like this before in my life.”
“When Biggie died, I was on the way to church,” Paul Wall said of ’Pac’s onetime adversary. “When ’Pac died, I had came out the gym, hoopin’. Me and Chamillionaire, we was in the ride together. We heard on the radio Tupac had passed away. We both were trippin’.” (Interestingly, Wall’s major-label debut, The People’s Champ, was released on September 13 in 2005.)
Back in 1996, producer Zaytoven was living in San Francisco when he heard about Tupac’s passing. ’Pac had spent some of his younger years in Oakland, California, and the Bay had extra love for Shakur.
“All we was listening to was ’Pac out there,” Zay said. “I was going to basketball practice. My mom had heard [the news] on the radio and called me about it. That was a downer for me, really the whole [West] Coast.
“Everybody was trippin’. We used to walk around with portable radios on our shoulders playing him,” Zay added. “That’s how hard we was rocking with ’Pac. It was devastating to the whole Bay Area.
Rapper Gorilla Zoe said that he, like many fans, initially refused to believe that Tupac had been killed.
” ’Pac was Superman to us,” Zoe explained. “Homes had been shot before [in 1994]; he always bounced back. When we found out he was shot [a week before his death] but wasn’t dead, we was like, ’OK.’ Then when we found out he was dead, nobody believed that. I didn’t believe that. For years we were like, ’Homes on an island somewhere, chillin’.’
“He was our prophet,” Zoe continued. “In the South, wasn’t nothing else: It was ’Pac. ’Pac was heavy in the South. We wouldn’t have had a movement like we got if that door wasn’t open. Homes opened the door for the real, for the soldiers. ’Pac was our prophet.”
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