Eminem and Tupacs Relationship: So Close Yet So Far

It’s funny. When we think about time, it’s hard to believe that some people existed in the same period as others. Some find it hard to believe that Pablo Picasso was alive at the same time as Martin Luther King Jr., and something similar can be said about 2Pac and Eminem.

Especially today, since Eminem is so well known and established, many know that 2Pac passed away close to thirty years ago. With their peak popularity being so close to each other, it’s understandable to believe that the two hip-hop icons were once at the top of the mountain together.

2Pac and Eminem’s names spoken together can bring up rumors and speculations on their relationship and if they had ever worked together. Were they friends? Did they know of each other? What was the relationship between the two, really?

If you’re asking yourself this, read onward, as all your questions have been answered. Eminem and Tupacs relationship with one another is creating some confusion around the internet, so I’ll clear things up for you here. The two shaped my personality growing up as they were at the start and end of their careers. And though my dream of one day seeing the two perform together as a kid is long gone, I can still see the impact 2Pac had on Eminem.

Where it All Started

The relationship between the two started somewhere around the early 90s when 2Pac was getting his start in the rap game. Eminem was first introduced to the rapper in this era with the song “I Get Around,” which is featured on his sophomore release, Strictly 4 My N.*.*.*.*. Z…, with his former group Digital Underground. The song caught the attention of the teenage Marshall Mathers and led him to Shakur’s debut album, 2Pacalypse Now. Discovering the rap legend helped shape Eminem’s lyrical practices, and showed him how & when to deliver each line.

The two were very close in age, with 2Pac being a year older than Em, but while one started to be known worldwide, the other was still rapping in Detroit with a group of his own: D-12.

Watching a Legend Grow

Image from Fandom

Come the mid90s, 2Pac was at the height of his stardom, but sadly, closer to his death. The album Me Against the World greatly inspired Marshall with its deliverance and emotional transparency. At this point, Eminem had started crafting his rhyming capabilities and would release the single “Infinite” the following year, in 1996. This year would bring the drive-by shooting that killed Tupac Shakur, and the music world hasn’t been the same since.

A New Legend Emerges

Fast-forward three years to the end of the decade, and we see the rap culture beginning to change as it always does. Rap was starting to shift into a more complex version of itself from years prior, and the white guy with bleached blonde hair calling himself Slim Shady had arrived. And with this, the influence from 2Pac was already being felt through this new face of the genre.

Did Eminem and 2Pac Ever Meet?

Image from Fandom

In short, no. I commonly see this question online, and I can see the confusion. They were both massive stars within a few years apart, and being close to the same age, it’s not unlikely to think that they may have met before. However, their paths never crossed as Eminem had yet to reach the levels he did while Shakur was still alive.

Additionally, 2Pac was famously known to be from the West Coast, while Marshall held from Detroit, Michigan. He wouldn’t go to Los Angeles until 1997 for the annual Rap Olympics. Thousands of miles away, the two would not have the chance to meet.

What Does Eminem Think of 2Pac?

There is no shortage of praise Eminem has given 2Pac over his career. In his lyrics, interviews, and even a letter to Shakur’s mother, Eminem has been very open about how important 2Pac is to him.

One of Eminem’s most famous examples is the popular ‘list’ that he raps about on his hit “Till I Collapse.’ In the second verse, Eminem lists his top rappers in order, naming 2Pac at number three.

This only briefly shows how highly Eminem thinks of the fallen rapper.

The Letter to Afeni Shakur

Loyal to the Game is the tenth studio album and fifth posthumous studio album by American rapper Tupac Shakur
Image from Fnandom

A memoir of Tupac Shakur entitled Tupac Remembered holds contributions from several rappers and celebrities speaking on the legend. Eminem was one of these contributors, and originally appearing in this novel, Marshall Mather’s letter to 2Pac’s mother was first seen.

To show his love and appreciation for her son, Em hand-wrote this letter for her which gracefully calls her a “true Queen” and details Pac’s influence on him. “…I knew I could put that “Tupac” tape in, and suddenly, things weren’t so bad.”

The letter has been said to be on display in Stone Mountain, Georgia, at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts. However, Eminem wouldn’t stop there with his praise for the late rapper. You can see it below with a drawing Marshall had done and given as a gift to Afeni Shakur as well.

More Eminem Praise for 2pac

In 2015, Paper Magazine paid tribute to “lost leaders of the game” by asking three current-day rappers to write about three that have passed away. While Kendrick Lamar paid tribute to Easy-E, and Swizz Beatz did the same for the Notorious B.I.G., Eminem wrote about 2Pac.

This tribute is well documented across the internet and is still one of the best descriptions of how 2Pac wrote and poured his feelings into his music. No one but Eminem could put the sentiment in such a way and show proof that what Shakur had figured out worked well in creating musical art.

In the essay, Eminem wrote, “A lot of people say, “You feel Pac,” and it’s true. The way he chose which words to say with which beat was genius; it’s like he knew what part of the beat and what chord change was the right place to hit these certain words….” Eminem picked up on Shakur’s emotional focus in his music and added the skill to his arsenal. This is why we feel such emotions and cadence changes as the emotions in the instrumentals change in his works.

He continued, “You just felt every aspect of his pain, every emotion: when he was happy, when he was sad. His ability to touch people’s lives like that was incredible.”

Often citing “If I Die 2Nite,” the second track off of 2Pac’s Me Against the World album, as a great example of Shakur’s ability to write emotional poetry while keeping the lyrical complexity and rhyming schemes intact. You can listen to him speak on this subject on his radio station here on YouTube:

Eminem Calls Tupac the Greatest Songwriter of All Time

So, it’s safe to say that Eminem greatly admired the late rapper. If they were to have met, Marshall Mathers would most definitely want to get to know and maybe even work with 2Pac, but would the gone-to-soon rapper have felt the same?

Would 2pac Have Liked Eminem?

There’s a good argument to be made for both sides. For one, the two rappers may have gotten along due to mutual respect, as Eminem is regarded as one of the best rappers of all time—just like 2Pac. With similar skills and the ever-changing environment of Hip Hop, it’s possible that the two would have been just fine with each other.

But then, if you look back at the months leading to the eventual death of Shakur, his path may prove otherwise.

We can look at his relationship with Dr. Dre for context. Towards the end, Tupac felt Dre didn’t do enough to support Death Row when it was on its deathbed. The violence and troubles plaguing the record company hindered the relationship between the two, and they weren’t in connection by the time of his passing. Dr. Dre would discover and become long term partners with Eminem after the fact, so the mutual connections with Dr. Dre might have hindered their potential relationship.

Not only this but Pac’s paranoia and rash decisions in his final months showed him beginning to spiral and become uncertain of what he wanted out of life. Knowing how strong beef in the rap game was back then, and how often these thoughts filled the young man’s head, the two may not have gotten along come Eminem’s rise to stardom.

Sadly, because the two never had the chance to meet, we’ll never know, but as it stands today, Marshall has plenty of great words to say about 2Pac.

Eminem Working with 2Pac Posthumously

Eminem Working With 2Pac Posthumously
Image from Fandom

Following the letter Eminem had written for 2Pac’s mother, Mathers had asked for her permission to produce a new album with recordings Shakur had made before his death. She obliged, and the Loyal to the Game album would come out of it.

The ninth album under 2Pac’s name and the fifth posthumous release was handled by Eminem himself, using techniques and production traits that sounded more relevant to the times. Some tracks feature Eminem, which marks the only few times their voices were on the same songs.

The album is peculiar as some of the tracks are noticeably trying to fill in the void that 2Pac would have brought if he was alive for the process. Some overproduction of his vocals is noticeable and forced, even going as far as to make it sound like 2Pac is giving props to G-Unit. Nevertheless, songs like “Out on Bail,” “Thugs Get Lonely Too,” and “Loyal to the Game” still stand out as a few of my favorites.

Aside from the album, Eminem also produced three tracks for the 2003 film Tupac: Resurrection’s soundtrack.

Mutual Bonds

We won’t know if 2Pac would have enjoyed his Eminem-produced album. Still, given that the two have shared the studio with another great mentioned earlier, Dr. Dre, there are a few notable mutual bonds the two shared that may have eventually brought them together.

Dr. Dre
Image from Fandom

The legendary producer, and most well-known mutual partner, had worked with 2Pac on Death Row in the early to mid90s, making hit songs such as “California Love.” The two would split paths closer to 2Pac’s demise, and the following year, Dre would discover Eminem in California and begin working with him.

Snoop Dogg
Image from Fandom

The fellow West Coast rapper was great friends with 2Pac until the end. He had visited 2Pac in the hospital and eventually got to perform with him one last time in a virtual concert at Coachella with Dr. Dre. The famous “2 of Americaz Most Wanted” single on 2Pac’s All Eyes on Me album features Snoop Dogg in a hard-hitting rap track. Snoop Dogg would later collaborate with and praise Eminem when he blew up. The two most recently collaborated on the “From The D 2 The LBC” track released in 2022.

  • Nate Dogg

Nate Dogg
Image from Fandom

One of the most incredible deep vocal performers, Nate Dogg, was featured in several songs between the two rappers as a special guest. “All About U” and “Skandalouz” feature Nate on Pac’s final release while alive. And for Em, “Shake That” and “Till I Collapse” always come to mind.

With these mutual connections, the idea of 2Pac and Eminem working together continues to grow, but we’ll never know.

Eminem & 2Pac Today

Today, the two rappers are seen as icons. Some of the greatest to have ever come from the game. While one lives on, continuing their career for over 25 years now, the other lives only in memory, with fans and producers still wanting to hear and work with whatever they could. The two prolific artists could have been a force to reckon with if both were still here, but at least their music still lives on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Did Eminem and 2Pac Make a Song Together?

Answer: While there are songs that have been posthumously released that feature both 2Pac and Eminem, the two never worked together. Tupac Shakur passed away before Eminem could grow as an artist and collaborate with the West Coast legend. However, Eminem has produced an album of 2Pac, Loyal to the Game, that he featured himself in.

Question: Were 2Pac and Eminem Friends?

Answer: Eminem and 2Pac never had the chance to meet, so a friendship was never created. However, the former rapper has gone on record several times to show his respect and appreciation for the latter. He has even written a letter to Shakur’s mother and a drawing he made of her son.

Question: Did Eminem Produce 2Pac?

Answer: Yes. Being moved by 2Pac’s life and work, Eminem reached out to his mother to ask permission to produce one of his albums. After gaining her blessing, Eminem produced Loyal to the Game in 2004. Tracks like “Soldier Like Me” and “Black Cotton” feature Slim Shady.


The relationship between the two can’t be definitively stated as good or bad. Since 2Pac and Eminem never had the chance to meet, a real relationship never came to fruition. But because of their status and mutual partners in the game, they found success similarly. Eminem has gone on numerous times to call 2Pac one of the best rappers of all time. Writing a letter to his mother and producing an album for the late Shakur, it’s safe to say that the two may have had a great relationship if given a chance.

Work Cited

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