Eminem is considered one of the greatest lyricists of all time and is definitely in most people’s top ten. As a former battle rapper, the Detroit artist has a unique way of delivering lyrics, and his rhyme scheme and complex cadences have made him one of the highest-selling hip-hop rhymers of all time.
However, there are several artists who influenced the emcee (real name Marshall Mathers) growing up. Eminem has already revealed that he was highly influenced by LL Cool J and, in 2021, told MTV, “He was like the first rock star of rap.”
But there is another legend that Mathers looked up to in his adolescence: the late California emcee 2Pac. In 2020, the rapper hosted a three-hour radio show on the Shade 45 Sirius XM station. During the ‘Music To Be Quarantined By’ segment, Mathers played a series of tracks that impacted him before he achieved fame.
The Detroit lyricist played hits from the likes of Beastie Boys, MC Lyte, Mobb Deep, The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan and Run-DMC over the three hours. However, before he played the legendary song, ‘If I Die 2Nite’, the ‘Lose Yourself’ rhymer expressed that he believes 2Pac is one of the best songwriters ever.
Before spinning the record, Mathers stated, “OK, this next song is from an artist who I feel like might be the greatest songwriter of all time! “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.”
He then proceeded to rap Shakur’s lyrics, rhyming,” ‘They say pussy and paper is poetry, power and pistols / Plotting on murdering muthafuckas ‘fore they get you!'” However, he then explained why the words are so impactful, expressing, “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 always saying, ‘Can you feel me?’ because you felt Pac.”
He concluded by stating, “You can’t just listen to Pac, you feel Pac. If you listen to him, you gonna feel him.” In 2004, Eminem executively produced Shakur’s Loyal To the Game posthumous album, which featured verses from the likes of 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Jadakiss and more.