The Greatest Of All Time: 2Pac references and homages in the lyrics of the best rappers in the game:
Drake - “Ignant Shit”: Drizzy is without a doubt the only rapper alive under 25 (the age at which Pac died) who is anywhere near Pac’s stratosphere in terms of fame and success. In this (excellent) verse off So Far Gone, Drake promises to honor Tupac’s legacy by refusing to compromise on the quality or the controversy of his music (not sure I buy the Illuminati reference tho RapGenius). “Still spitting that shit that they shot Pac over”
Eminem - “Just Don’t Give A Fuck”: Anyone who doesn’t know the Greatest Rapper of All Time’s influence on the Greatest White Rapper of All Time doesn’t need to look any further than the chorus of Shady’s debut single. “When you see me on your block with 2 glocks screamin’ ‘Fuck the world’ like 2Pac/I just don’t give a fuck”
Fabolous - “Can’t Deny It”: Fab was pre-ordained to be the next great Brooklyn MC in the line of Biggie and Jay-Z, but for his breakout single, he jacked his whole chorus from the first track on Pac’s All Eyez On Me. “I can’t deny it, I’m straight rider/You don’t wanna fuck with me”
50 Cent - “In Da Club”: 50 is one of the biggest Pac fans among famous rappers in the 21st century. He lets us know his aspirations in the rap game on the super-massive single from his Aftermath debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. “In the hood, in L.A. they saying ‘50 you hot’/They like me, I want ‘em to love me like they love ‘Pac”
Game - “Hate It Or Love It”: Game is the most notorious name-dropper in rap, and as a West Coast MC, it should surprise absolutely no one to find a Pac reference on one of the disc’s singles. “Pac is gone and Brenda still throwin’ babies in the garbage”
Gucci Mane - “Worst Enemy”: Gucci Mane explains, ever so poetically, that first 2Pac died, then Biggie died, and that greatly impacted him. “First 2Pac died, then Biggie died/And that greatly impacted me”
Jay-Z - “‘03 Bonnie & Clyde”: No one references Biggie more than Shawn Carter, but this Pac homage trumps any individual Big quote he ever dropped in terms of sheer magnitude. The entire song is based on 2Pac’s “Me And My Girlfriend,” from the first line Jay spits to the chorus he duets with his girlfriend (at the time) Beyonce. Fun fact: the track was produced by a then-(relatively)-unknown Kanye West. “All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend/Down the ride to the very end it’s me and my boyfriend”
J. Cole - “Enchanted”: Like Weezy, Cole loves dropping his Pac lyrics and has even tweeted that “Pac the greatest” (I think he did it again today). The chorus for this track off Cole’s third mixtape is a slightly modified version of the chorus from Pac’s “Hail Mary.” “Come with me/Run quick see what do we have here now/Do you wanna ride or die/La da da dadada”
Kanye West - “Family Business”: If the “‘03 Bonnie & Clyde” production credit wasn’t enough to convince you of Kanye’s love for Mr. Shakur, check the “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” quote on the penultimate track of Yeezy’s debut album. “I can’t deny it, I’m a straight rider”
Lil’ Wayne - “Right Above It”: Weezy’s “Fuck the world” references could out number the pages in the Bible, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll go with his bite of arguably Pac’s famous “Hail Mary” lyric at the end of his first verse on “Right Above It.” “I ain’t a killer, but don’t push me”
Rick Ross - “Tupac Back”: If you need this explained… “What the fuck, is you stupid?” Tupac back, Tupac back/There’s all these bitches screaming that Tupac back/All Eyez On Me, better Picture Me Rollin’/Buying brand new rims, but these bitches is stolen/Stranded on Death Row, Brenda having my baby/But I’m stacking my paper, I need a brand new Mercedes/They screaming Tupac back, Tupac back/There’s all these bitches screaming that Tupac back”
Waka Flocka Flame - Flockaveli: Waka named his debut album after the new stage name, Makaveli, that Tupac adopted for his last studio album.
Young Jeezy - “Unforgettable”: Jeezy’s “realest flow ever” features a 2-bar shout out to the realest MC ever. “The closest you’re gon get to this is a Pac t-shirt/The name’s Young baby, you know I live that Thug Life”
RIP Tupac Shakur. Truly lives on thru the music.