Eminem is a hip hop legend, and many adore and respect him. But he’s just as prone to idolising his own icons, and one hero he had before making it big in the music industry under Dr Dre was the legendary California rapper Tupac Shakur. In fact, he respected the late rapper so much that (following his passing) he sent a heartfelt and emotional letter to his mother.
Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, was a well-known and respected woman well before her son became a rapper. As a member of the Black Panther Party, Shakur did a lot of admirable work in the African-American community advocating for civil rights and equality. Furthermore, she aided the Gay Liberation Front in their cause.
An admirable woman; it is, of course, saddening to know that she lost her son so tragically. However, there was one person that was most definitely thinking about her and feeling her pain. This individual was Marshall Mathers. In 1996 (the year Tupac Shakur died), Mathers had just released his debut album, Infinite. The record was released to little critical acclaim, Mathers was a nobody.
However, even when Mathers finally hit the mainstream and found mega fame, he never forgot about Afeni or the impact her son had on him. In fact, it bore so heavy on his heart that amidst the fame and fortune, he penned an emotional letter to Tupac’s mother.
In the undated letter, Mathers detailed how even when he was broke and suicidal, the late rapper gave him “courage.” The tribute went on to read, “you have no idea how much your son and his music has inspired not only the ‘hip-hop’ world but, speaking for myself, inspired my whole career. He was, and still is, the true definition of a soldier.”
The letter penned by Mathers even included a sketch of the late rapper that got displayed at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts. A centre founded by Tupac’s mother in 1997. In the letter, Mathers apologises for the sketch appearing slightly “a little sloppy”.
The letter’s contents see Mathers pour his heart out, praising Afeni for her work and kindness and praising her son. Speaking on his life in Detroit, Eminem wrote, “When I was feeling at my ‘worst’: (before fame, before Dre), I knew I could put that Tupac tape in, and suddenly, things weren’t so bad. He gave me the courage to stand up and say, ‘F**k the world! This is who I am! And if you don’t like it, go f**k yourself!’ Thank you for giving us his spirit and yours! God Bless you! Love, Marshall”
The letter from Mathers to Shakur is said to have been written after Eminem was given the honour of producing the posthumous Pac album Loyal To The Game in 2004. See more about the sentimental letter in the video below.