Eminem is heralded as one of the most gifted lyricists to ever live. But during his recent three-hour Shade45 radio show special Music To Be Quarantined By, the celebrated MC revealed who he believes is the greatest songwriter of all time — Tupac Shakur.
As Shady was getting ready to play “If I Die Tonight” from ‘Pac’s 1995 classic Me Against The World, he explained how he came to that conclusion. Marshall cites much more than strictly lyrical skill for ‘Pac’s greatness, referencing his ability to make the listener feel his words as one of his greatest skills.
“OK, this next song is from an artist who I feel like might be the greatest songwriter of all time,” he begins. “Debate what you want about MC skills and all that, because he had that too. This is one of them songs by 2Pac that, to me, he was showing you, ‘I can write heartfelt shit and I can write lyrical, crazy shit too.’
‘They say pussy and paper is poetry, power and pistols/Plotting on murdering muthafuckas ‘fore they get you’ — like, the play on the ‘p’ words and all that shit and how he was doing it was so crazy, mixed with the feel that 2Pac could give you, which is constantly why I feel like he was saying, ‘Can you feel me?’ because you felt ‘Pac. You can’t just listen to ‘Pac, you feel ‘Pac. If you listen to him, you gonna feel him.”
Em announced the three-hour special last week. The playlist included some of Shady’s favorite tracks from artists such as Beastie Boys, MC Lyte, Mobb Deep, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Run-DMC, Wu-Tang Clan and — of course — ‘Pac.
“It’s what I wanna hear, basically,” he told Sway Calloway on Thursday (April 29) to which his longtime manager Paul Rosenberg said, “And recommend people to listen to as well.”
‘Pac released four albums during his 25 short years on the planet, including Pacalypse Now (1991), Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. (1993), Me Against the World (1995) and — what proved to be his final album while he was alive — All Eyez On Me (1996).
Seven months after the album’s release, he was gunned down at an intersection in Las Vegas. The murder remains unsolved.