Sometimes it’s hard to digest some of Tupac’s most memorable songs and lyrics because oddly enough,it still resonates with the times today. His unblemished resume consisting of All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory helped shape the realm of music, even after his passing 20 years ago. To honor his legacy, Billboard sat down with several of his closest friends and collaborators to speak on the venerable artist.
“Working with Tupac was challenging in many ways, because we had to deal with the people that were around him,” says Gobi Rahimi, Tupac’s personal videographer and director of his music video “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” “Working with Death Row was not easy, but being in Tupac’s presence in and of itself made it all worthwhile. He was such an anomaly, such an ingénue, that you couldn’t help but sort of become his surrogate, his lap dog; you would do anything he needed done. And at 25, it just seemed like he had such a clear picture of where he wanted to go. And it was our job, as far as production was concerned, to help him fulfill those dreams.”
In addition to Rahimi, Young Noble, a member of The Outlawz, spoke about Pac’s affinity for Cali.
“Man, he loved riding with the top down, speeding and shit, just loved the California vibe. What used to irk me though was he always wanted us to roll blunts in the drop-top. [Laughs] And me and Kadafi was the great blunt rollers, so he would always either look to me or Kadafi and go, “What the f— you doin’? Roll up!” So we’d be in the drop-top Rolls-Royce or Mercedes or something, and this guy isspeeding some-damn-where, and you’re trying to roll a blunt without spilling a half-ounce of weed in this guy’s car, man, or spilling the blunt shit all over the place. It was like, come on, dude. [Laughs] Nothing was easy with that dude. He would test you like that: “Roll your blunts while I’m driving 80 miles per hour with the top back and the wind coming all in the car.” Dude was a piece of work; crazy as all hell, but had a heart of gold.”
Check out the rest of Billboard’s feature on Pac’s legacy and more personal anecdotes from some of his closest peers.