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Anderson .Paak's favourite Tupac Shakur song of all time

Anderson .Paak has quickly made himself one of the most indispensable artists of hip hop’s new dawn. Not concerned with maintaining a tough exterior or any kind of hardness, Paak operates on a different scale, buoyed by musicality and technical prowess. Smooth and soulful, the artist will be a key figure for years to come. However, like all greats, he knows that some of his best lessons can be learned from the past and he rates Tupac Shakur among the very best scholars around.

Of course, Shakur’s position as one of the forefathers of modern hip hop is secured. His potent songs, which seemed to not only define the decade but an entire generation, has become synonymous with the finest moments the genre has to offer. When given the chance to put on record his favourite songs of all time, .Paak was sure to include a track from one of the greatest of all time.

Paak first started his musical journey as a teenager when he began spending his free time producing music in his bedroom, and it didn’t take him long to realise that this expression was his destiny. The first time he got the thrill of performing live came when he started drumming at the church his family would regularly attend. In 2011, when his career as a musician was yet to take off, he worked on a marijuana farm but had his role terminated, a decision that temporarily left him, his wife and their infant son homeless.

However, things soon turned around, and a few months later, Paal became a crucial figure in the Los Angeles scene as word got around about the music he was creating. Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra, and Los Angeles based rapper Dumbfoundead, helped Paak get back on his feet and gave him a creative job as an assistant, videographer, editor, writer and producer. He released his debut mixtape, O.B.E. Vol. 1, on June 30, 2012, and his career has continued to ascend since.

His debut album, Venice, was released in October 2014 and although it didn’t chart, it started the journey that has seen him grow to become one of the most respected names in music today. A few months before his debut release, Paak sat down with DJ Booth to discuss his fifteen favourite songs, a collection that offered a fascinating insight into his wide-ranging influences. However, it was the inclusion of Tupac Shakur’s song ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ that signified the most personal song on the list.

“We (me and my 16-year-old buddy) were obsessed with 2pac and all the drama that was perpetuated by the media, we totally bought into it. At the age of 11, young and impressionable, 2pac was our leader. We knew every word and ad-lib; there was no one better to listen to. He was like your favourite WWF wrestler.

“There was so much clarity and passion when he spoke, and his beat selection was fuckin nuts! Think about how many of his old songs actually still sound good and not super dated with corny sounds that were popular for that time. His music had live instrumentation. When he wanted to be positive and deep, no one was better, when he wanted to be a mindless thug, no one was better,” Paak added.

It’s a classic song and it is easy to see how and why the track became an inspirational moment for Paak. Below, listen to Anderson .Paak‘s favourite Tupac song, ‘Keep Ya Head Up’.