By Brian Ives
It was a night that hip-hop fans had been waiting for: Tupac Shakur’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Snoop Dogg gave a funny and moving speech, discussing his fallen friend and label-mate.
“To be human is to be many things at once, strong and vulnerable, courageous and afraid,” he said. “I ‘m here to make sure that he’s remembered the way he would have wanted to be: as a strong black man.”
He recalled meeting 2Pac in 1993 at a party promoting the Tupac film, Poetic Justice. “And he passed me my first blunt,” he said, to uproarious laughter. “Really!”
“We became really good friends thereafter.” He recalled that in 1995 he said he told Suge Knight to sign Tupac to Death Row after he got out of jail.
“We were young black men with targets on our backs. He had gotten out of jail, I had just beaten my case. He put me up on Gucci and Versace and s— I couldn’t even pronounce. we had no peers besides one another.”
He recalled a trip to South America with Tupac and Knight. “I never told this story,” he said. “Snoop Dogg and Tupac parasailed with Suge Knight driving the boat!” he marveled. “Does anybody here know what parasailing is? ‘Cause we damn sure didn’t!
“We not only thought we were on the top of the world at that time, we actually were!”
“When he loves he loves hard, whether it was black people, his homies, his record label, or his beautiful and strong mother, Afeni Shakur.” He recalled when Tupac was lying in a hospital bed in
“He’s hip-hop history,” Snoop noted. He’s American history.”
What followed was a frankly incredible tribute to the man: first Alicia Keys played a medley of songs, “I Get Around,” “I Ain’t Mad At Ya,” “Dear Mama” and “Changes.”
Then, Snoop returned to the stage with YG for “2 of Americaz Most Wanted.” Treach from Naughty By Nature did “Hail Mary,” and then T.I. performed “Keep Ya Head Up.”