Snoop Dogg inducted fellow West Coast legend Tupac Shakur at Friday night’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Both artists were on Dr. Dre and Suge Knight’s Death Row Records, and Snoop Dogg had appeared on one of Tupac’s final releases before his death, “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone before the speech, Snoop noted that, “The Hall of Fame has come a long way and we appreciate them for appreciating us for what we do. And hopefully there will be many more to come, because there’s a lot of greats in hip-hop that deserve to be here.” But for now, the rapper reminisced about his history with Shakur. Read his full speech below.
I really can’t believe that it’s been 21 years since we got to actually hear from Tupac. No, not that one clip on Youtube, not the movie or the hologram. Tupac Amaru Shakur, the human being. Twenty-one years ago on that fateful night in Las Vegas, Tupac Shakur was taken from all of us. He was only 25 years old too. Damn near the same age as my oldest son is now.
When I sat down to gather my thoughts about my label mate, my homie and my brother – there’s one thought that kept coming back to me. Tupac, the actual HUMAN BEING.
And while many remember him now as some kind of thugged out super hero. Tupac knew he was only human. And he represented this through his music like no one before. It’s a fact he never shied away from. He wore it like a badge of honor.
With an unapologetic rawness, Pac embraced those contradictions that prove we ain’t just a character out of someone else’s storybook. To be human, is to be many things at once: strong and vulnerable, hardheaded and intellectual, courageous and afraid, loving and vengeful, revolutionary and, oh yeah, don’t get it fucked up, GANGSTA.
So while we may be here today to celebrate one of music’s most prolific and outspoken artists as he is rightfully enshrined amongst the greatest musicians to ever do it – I’m here to make sure that Pac is remembered the way he would’ve wanted to be…a strong black man that stood for his. Not simply an actor or a rapper,…but as a HUMAN.
That’s what made Tupac an amazing actor on the big screen in movies like Above The Rim and Juice. That’s what made him refuse to lower his head when railing against injustice towards his people. That’s what made us so engaged with everything he ever did…both before and after his death. That’s what made Tupac THE GREATEST RAPPER OF ALL TIME.
“He’s rightfully enshrined as one of the greatest musicians to ever do it.”
But to me, Tupac was, first and foremost, the homie. We shared a lot in common. In a way, our journeys started together. We were both were born the same year. 1971. He released his first single, “Trapped” from his scorching first album 2Pacalypse Now, in late 1991. Not even a year later I would make my debut alongside Dr. Dre on the song “Deep Cover”.
I finally met Pac in ’93 at the wrap party for Poetic Justice in LA. And on that night, Pac passed me my first blunt. That’s right, Tupac is the one that got Snoop Dogg smoking blunts. I was a Zig Zag man before that. Shit, we became very good friends quickly thereafter. And then, in 1995, I told Suge Knight that he should get Pac out of prison and have him come join our team over at Death Row Records. You know, the most unfuckwitable record label of all time.
Our friendship there was like player to player. He never had a team before. It was always just him. Now, with us, it was like he joined the Showtime Lakers. Dre was the coach … Suge was the owner … and me and Pac, we were the stars on the court making history with every new song. We were young, rich and rock stars. But we were also young black men with targets on our back.
We were catching cases simultaneously. That’s why when we got together we really were 2 of Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. He had gotten out of jail. I had just beat my case. I’d get a white Rolls Royce with that creamy peanut butter leather and Pac would go and get a black one just like it. He’d have his tailor come over and create custom made Hugo Boss suits for us … mafia style, ya know. He put me on to boss player shit like Gucci and Versace. I got me a Penthouse suite on Wilshire … then two weeks later, Pac got the one right across the hall from me. Neighbors, ya dig?
We had no peers besides one another. Just two black boys struggling to become men.
I’ve never shared this story before. But it really speaks to our journey. I had just beat my case and Suge had taken us to South America to get away from all the drama. And me and Pac was parasailing. Yeah you heard right … Snoop Dogg and Tupac … parasailing … together … with Suge Knight driving the boat. You gotta remember, I had just beat my case and Pac had just gotten out of jail. We would’ve tried anything at that point.
Do you know what parasailing is? Because we damn sure didn’t. Me and Pac sitting on the edge of the boat with all of this gear and shit on. And then, all of the sudden, the boat pulls away and we start floating up in the air. We damn near holding hands. Scared as a muthafucka. And Suge’s ass kept dropping the lever and would slam into the water. BOOM. I didn’t know what was in there … there could’ve been sharks or octopuses or all kinds of shit.
“He saw more potential in me than I saw in myself.”
It was crazy cuz not only did we think that we was on top of the world at that time, we actually were on top of the world. Floating around in the sky. And then, Pac all of sudden started telling me about some crazy ass movie idea he had, with me as the main star. He was saying all of this shit and I was only like halfway listening ‘cause I was scared as hell being up that high.
The shit he was saying to me up in that moment was different though. He seen me as an actor. He saw more potential in me than I saw in myself. And it’s funny because after he passed away, I started getting a lot of movie roles. I always felt like that was Pac looking out for his nigga … even after he was gone.
That’s the thing with Pac: when he loves, he loves hard. Whether that was him loving black people, him loving his homies, him loving his record label, and of course, him loving his beautiful and incredibly strong mother, the late Afeni Shakur.
Memories of Mrs. Shakur are embedded in my mind. Right after I heard Tupac got shot, I immediately flew to Vegas. I walked in the room and seen him laid out with all of these tubes and shit in him. I was so weak, I damn near fell over. And his mom came over to me and grabbed me and held me up. She said, “Baby you gotta be strong. Be strong.”
I went and sat next to him and was whispering to him … telling him I loved him and to hold on and that he was gonna be ok. Even in that moment, his mom was thinking more about me than herself and showing me how to love strong. It was amazing to me that his mama was so strong and loved so hard.
I realized now that Pac was taught how to love at very early age. And through his music he shared that love with all of us. And that’s ultimately why we are here tonight.
Pac’s a part of history for a reason. Because he made history; He’s hip-hop history; He’s American history. And just like in school, the more research that you do on history, the more information you have. So do your research. See the movie ALL EYEZ ON ME. Understand all of Pac’s sides. He was much more than you probably think. I’m not talking about just Pac the rapper. I’m talking about Tupac the HUMAN BEING.
So with that said we’d ALL like to officially welcome Tupac Shakur into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Pac we still love you dog. You’ll always be right with us. We know you’re gonna live forever. Legends always do. They will never be able to take this away from you.
And since my brother is no longer with us in the physical form, I’ll
accept this honor on his behalf. We love you Tupac! I love you Tupac, welcome
to the rock and roll hall of fame.
In our in-depth oral history on Tupac Shakur’s incredible career.