The rapper Eminem called “the greatest songwriter of all time”

Eminem is indisputably one of the modern masters of lyrical flow. Whether he’s taking off at light speed on ‘Rap God’, being a complete doofus on ‘The Real Slim Shady’, or leaning into the horrorcore style of ‘Stan’ and ‘Guilty Conscious’, the Detroit MC always infused his signature unexpected twists and turns throughout his rhymes and verses.

But even someone like Marshall Mathers needed a role model for who to emulate. Every artist has to start somewhere, and all the greats began by imitating the people that they felt were the best. As it turns out, one of those people for Eminem was Tupac Shakur.

When Eminem appeared on his radio programme ‘Music To Be Quarantined By’ on his Shade45 SiriusXM Channel earlier this year, he spoke of his admiration for the late rapper before cueing up ‘If I Die Tonight’ from Tupac’s 1995 album Me Against The World.

“OK, this next song is from an artist that I feel like might be the greatest songwriter of all time,” he said. “Debate what you want about MC skills and all that because he had that, too. This is one of them songs by Tupac that, to me, was like, he was showing you I can write heartfelt shit and I can write lyrical, crazy shit, too.”

Eminem signed out the lines: “They say pussy and paper is poetry, power and pistols / Plotting on murdering muthafuckas ‘fore they get you” as being vindictive of the lines that no one else could have articulated.

“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 Tupac could give you, which is constantly why I feel like he was saying, ‘Can you feel me?’ because you felt Pac. You feel Pac. If you listen to him, you’re gonna feel him.”

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