Rapper T-Pain has been in the music industry for the better part of two decades, and has provided people everywhere with beloved songs. But when it comes to respecting artists who came before him — specifically, Tupac Shakur — T-Pain is honest with his thoughts.
T-Pain has been making music for decades
T-Pain first launched his music career in 2005 with his debut album, Rappa Ternt Sanga. He burst onto the scene with breakout singles “I’m Sprung” and “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper).” He extended his success with his 2007 sophomore album Epiphany, which contained the songs “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” and “Bartender.” He notched his first top 10 single with “Can’t Believe It” from his album Thr33 Ringz, released the following year.
T-Pain’s success as an artist continued into the 2010s as he worked as a producer and guest artist. His most recent albums, Oblivion and 1UP, were released in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
To date, T-Pain has earned two Grammy Awards: one with Kanye West for “Good Life” and the other with Jamie Foxx for their collab “Blame It.”
T-Pain said Tupac wouldn’t hold up against today’s rappers
In July 2022, T-Pain stopped by DJ Akademiks’ Twitch channel to talk about music and much more. He began discussing legendary rapper Tupac Shakur and how he would fare in the hip-hop world today versus the 1990s.
“Pac would’ve gotten killed sooner [if social media existed] and he would’ve gotten his a** ate the f*** up lyrically,” T-Pain said, to Akademiks’ surprise.
“Lyricism-wise, Pac would’ve got ridiculously murdered. Bro, Pac was a crazy lyricist in our time because ain’t nobody else have no platform,” he went on. “If the platforms would’ve been what they are now, ‘Pac would’ve been ate the f*** up […] I’m just saying what we look at as Pac’s greatest lyrics is peanuts to what we hear today.”
When Akademiks offered a rebuttal, T-Pain agreed that Tupac was a master poet and one of the greatest emcees of all time. But he stood by his claim that he would’ve had a hard time surviving in the social media age.
“Pac is a full f***ing poet,” he said. “Pac was — if not the — one of the greatest lyricist at the time, but if we would’ve had social media back then and everybody would’ve been able to have their opinion, there would’ve been way the f*** more disrespectful n****s at the time. They would’ve been dying to be more disrespectful to Pac.”
T-Pain offered that if Tupac were alive today, he wouldn’t garner respect from younger generations because of his status as an elder statesman of hip-hop.
“If ‘Pac was alive right now, they would’ve discredited everything he said just because he was old. That’s it,” he said. “He would’ve been saying the same thing as the young n****s, but it would’ve been less credit ’cause he’s old.”
Tupac is widely respected by other artists
Tupac was respected by fellow rappers in the 1990s, including his onetime friend The Notorious B.I.G. To this day, countless hip-hop artists acknowledge Tupac’s indelible influence.
Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA spoke with Akademiks in 2021 on his show The Art of Dialogue about Tupac and his ability to connect with listeners.
“Pac, once again, immaculate voice, but what Pac had, I think, was a way of touching us in all of our emotions,” RZA said honestly. “Like, Pac had the power to infuse your emotional thought, like ‘Brenda Has a Baby,’ ‘Dear Mama,’ but then he had the power to arouse the rebel in you. You know?”
“Actually, he was probably more dangerous than Big,” RZA added. “[Tupac] was more going into the Malcolm X of things, and society fears that.”