On 4-7-17, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, west coast music legend, Snoop Dogg, inducted Tupac Shakur into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Delivering a moving speech amidst a plethora of performances (Snoop Dogg, YG, T.I., Alicia Keys), the epic ceremony ensures the late-great Tupac Shakur’s well-deserved place in music history. Only on DubCNN.
Snoop Dogg: I can’t believe it’s been 21 years since we actually got to hear Tupac, not the one clip on YouTube, not the hologram, Tupac Amaru Shakur the human being. Twenty-one years ago, Tupac Shakur was taken from all of us. He was only twenty-five years old, too. Dare me to say that he was gone too soon. When I sat down to gather my thoughts about my late and great, my homie and my brother there’s one thought that kept coming back: Tupac was actually really good. While many remember him now as some kind of thugged out superhero, Tupac really was only good and he represented through his music like no one before. It’s the fact that he never shied away from it. He wore it like a badge of honor. With an unapologetic voice, Pac embraced those contradictions that proved we ain’t just a character out of someone else’s story book. To be human is to be many things at once. Strong and bold. Hard headed and intellectual. Courageous and afraid. Loving and vengeful. Revolutionary and – oh, yeah I’m getting f***** up.
So, while we may be here to celebrate one of music’s most prolific and outspoken artists as he’s rightfully enshrined as one of the greatest musicians to ever do it, I’m here to make sure that Pac is remembered the way he would have wanted to be: a strong black man who stood up. Not somebody who acted like 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 so engaged with everything he ever did. Both before and after his death. That’s what made Tupac the greatest rapper of all time.
But to me, Tupac was first and foremost a homeboy. We shared a whole lot in common. The way our journey started together. We were both born in the same [neighborhood in] ’71. He released his first single track from his scorcher first album “2pacalypse Now” in late 1991. Not even a year later I would make my debut alongside Dr. Dre on the song, “G Thang.” I finally got a chance to meet Pac in 1993 at a wrap party in L.A. And on that night, Pac passed me my first blunt. That’s right, Tupac is the one that got Snoop Dogg smoking weed. I was a zig-zag man before that s***. We became very good friends quickly thereafter.
Then, in 1995, I told Suge Knight, I said, “Suge get Pac out of prison and have him come join our team at Death Row Records.” He never had a team before. It was always just him. Now, with us it was like he joined the Lakers. Dre was the coach and me and Pac were the stars on the court making history every which side. We were young, rich, and rock stars but we were also young men black men with targets on our back. We were catching cases simultaneously. That’s why when we got together we really were two of America’s most wanted. He had just gotten out of jail. I had just beat my case. I get a white Rolls Royce with that creamy white interior and Pac, he went out and bought a black one with the same thing.
He put me up on a lot of brand s*** like Gucci and Versace and s*** I can’t even pronounce. I got that penthouse suite on Wilshire, then two weeks later Pac got the one right across the hall from me. Neighbors, you dig? We had no peers besides one another. Just two black boys struggling to become men. I 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. You heard right. Snoop Dogg and Tupac parasailing together. You got to remember I had just beat my case and Pac had just got out of prison. Does anybody know what parasailing is? Because we damn sure didn’t. Me and Pac were sitting on the edge of the boat with all this gear and s*** on and all of sudden the boat pulls away and we start floating and slammed up into the water like boom. I don’t know what was in there. Sharks, or octopus or whatever, I’m like, man.
It was crazy because not only did we think we’re on top of the world at that time we actually were on top of the world. Floating around in style then all of sudden Pac started telling me about some movie idea he had about me being the main star. He was saying some s***. I wasn’t paying attention because I was like, ‘we’re too high.’ I mean the s*** he was saying to me at that moment was different, though. He saw 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 and all this stuff. Pac was looking out for us 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 Ms. Shakur are embedded in m mind. Right after I heard Tupac got shot I immediately flew to Vegas. I was so weak I damn near fell over and his mom came over to me and she grabbed me and she held up and she said, “Baby, you to to be strong.” I went and sat next to him and I whispered to him telling him I love him and to hold on and he was going to be OK and even in that moment his mom was thinking more about me than herself and showed me how to love strongly. I mean it was amazing that his momma was so strong and loved so hard.
I realized that Pac was taught how to love at a very early age and through his music he shared the love with all of us and that’s ultimately why we’re here tonight. Pac’s apart 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 you do on history the more information that you have. So do your research. I’m not talking about Pac the rapper, I’m not talking about Tupac the actor, I’m talking about Tupac the human being. So with that said, we’d all like to officially welcome Tupac Shakur to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
You will always be the best. You will live on forever. Legends always do. They can’t take this away from you, homie. I love you, Tupac. Welcome to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Snoop’s speech transcribed via Rolling Stone.