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Read Eminem’s Letter on Tupac

“I could put ‘Dear Mama’ in and damn near be in tears.”

Several months ago, Eminem’s thank you letter to Tupac’s mom, Afeni Shakur re-emerged online and more recently, PAPER Magazine has shared another written piece by Marshall Mathers. In this new letter, Em writes on Tupac’s genius and artistry, and how he was good at being able to evoke emotions in his music. A piece from Swizz Beatz on The Notorious B.I.G. will also appear in the magazine’s upcoming Nowstalgia issue, which will be out on October 20. Read Eminem’s letter below and check out the entire feature here.

When his mother, Afeni (Shakur), let me produce one of Tupac’s albums — the Loyal to the Game album — I wrote her a letter thanking her for letting me do it. You wouldn’t be able to tell the 18/19-year-old Marshall that he would ever be able to get his hands on some Tupac vocals and have that opportunity. It was such a significant piece of history for me and so much fun. I’m like a kid in a candy store; going nuts with the fact that I’m putting beats under his rhymes. Regardless of how good a rapper someone is, it’s easy for things to eventually get dated. But when you make songs like Tupac did, songs that feel like something, that feeling never goes away. I can put “If I Die 2Nite” in and want to fight somebody the second it comes on. That’s the kind of emotion he sparked. I could put “Dear Mama” in and damn near be in tears. He was just so good at evoking emotions through songs and I picked up so much from that. Biggie had that as well. It was that same kind of thing… he was so good at putting the right words and music together. I would have a hard time believing that they didn’t know what they were doing when they were putting certain words on certain chords of the beat. I would have a hard time believing that it was all accidental. It was true genius.

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