If you've ever felt an Eminem song, you can, at least in part, thank Tupac. According to Slim Shady, Pac taught him about the importance of evoking strong emotions in rap, a genre he studied religiously from a young age.
"The school I come from growing up, we spent a lot of time studying rappers, everyone from N.W.A to Public Enemy to Big Daddy Kane to Kool G Rap to Rakim to Special Ed, taking all these bits and piece from each one," Eminem wrote in a tribute letter for Pac in Paper magazine. "Tupac was the first one to really help me learn how to make songs that felt like something."
Em further praised Pac for his ability to deliver an array of emotions with his music.
"If it was a sad song, it'd make you cry," he explained. "But there were a lot of different sides to him: fed-up, angry, militant, having a good time. His spirit spoke to me because it was like you knew everything that he was going through, especially when he made Me Against the World. You just felt every aspect of his pain, every emotion: when he was happy, when he was sad. His ability to touch people's lives like that was incredible."
It seems Eminem learned several valuable lessons from Pac, and now he's doing the same for his own fans by making them feel his lyrics too. In fact, there was a touching story earlier today about a 10-year-old with a prosthetic leg who used Slim Shady's words as inspiration. See? Em's reaching the youth as well.
Pac isn't the only late, great icon getting praise from one of today's greatest and most prominent MCs. Paper recently published Kendrick Lamar's letter honoring Eazy-E, and there's more to come as Swizz Beatz is set to honor the Notorious B.I.G. soon.