Eminem describes his first introduction to Tupac on “I Get Around” with Digital Underground when he was in his late teens, leading Eminem to find Tupac’s first album 2Pacalypse Now and making a lifelong fan of him.
“He was taking things further than a lot of rappers at the time — pushing it to the next level as far as giving feeling to his words and his music,” writes Eminem. “A lot of people say, ‘You feel Pac,’ and it’s absolutely true. The way he chose which words to say with which beat was genius; it’s like he knew what part of the beat and what chord change was the right place to hit these certain words… to make them jump off the track and make you feel what he was saying.”
Eminem writes that Tupac was the first rapper that helped him learn how to write songs with meaning — a lesson fans of Eminem know he’s taken to heart.
“Whatever he was rapping about, it was urgent,” he continues. “If it was a sad song, it’d make you cry. 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.”
Paper‘s October issue also includes an essay by Kendrick Lamar paying tribute to Easy-E and a Swizz Beatz tribute to the Notorious B.I.G., which has not yet been released. The magazine hits newsstands Oct. 20.
Read Eminem’s full tribute here.