Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. both left an indelible mark on the rap game. After they were both gunned down in 1996 and 1997 respectively, the iconic lyricists have seen a number of posthumous releases, lyrical dedications, merchandise, books, television shows and Hollywood movies made in their honor. The latest homage comes courtesy of DJ Khaled.
The charismatic record producer and executive dropped the latest single from his upcoming Suffering From Success album on Monday. "I Feel Like Pac/ I Feel Like Biggie" gathers Rick Ross, Meek Mill, T.I., DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz and Diddy over a Beat Bully-produced drum parade.
"When I made 'I Feel Like Pac/ I Feel Like Biggie' me and Swizz was in the studio and I played Swizz the beat and I gave him a vision of who I wanted to be on the record. Swizz came up with this hook: 'I feel like 'Pac,' " Khaled told MTV News when we took a trip to his North Miami recording studio.
"That chemistry with me and Swizz was amazing when we were cooking that, but at the same time I couldn't have put just any rapper on that record so I put Ross, I put Meek and I put T.I.," he said of how he decided to put on the verses.
The track starts with an amped-up Diddy intro. "Ayo, Khaled, y'all know y'all done f---ed up now," he shouts with his normal Diddy swag.
With his opening verse, Ross paints a picture of a high-profile rapper with street ties. "Sucker walk up on me, talking like he know me/ Ain't no co-defendant I do my dirt all by my lonely," he raps.
"Ross is one of the biggest rappers in the game and one of the hardest gangsta rappers in the game and that's what Biggie and 'Pac was," said Khaled. "And then you got T.I., another brother from the south who's one of the hardest rappers in the game and in and out of jail, going through so much sh--. If you really look at T.I.'s story, he done been through a lot of sh--, as well as Ross.
"Then you got Meek Mill, who has been through a lot of sh--, and where he comes from, from a young age. If you look at his story, he's like a young 'Pac, " he continued. "Nobody's like 'Pac and Biggie, nobody's sounding like 'em. I'm talking about the energy."
On T.I.'s closing verse, he bypasses his own past drama, which he has rapped about on a number of occasions and takes a more creative route, weaving a number of B.I.G. and Tupac song titles into his verse. "Feel like it's me against the world, bury me a G," he raps, nodding to two 'Pac classics.
Not everybody was a fan of the song, however. Former Bad Boy rapper Ma$e didn't mention Khaled or anyone involved with the single, but did post what seems to be a related Instagram hours after the song was released. "N---as sold u out BIG. I hate the way your legacy has been watered down. I don't have to be from Bk....," he wrote as a caption to a Biggie photo he posted.