Eminem’s Emotional Letter and Hand-Drawn Portrait Addressed to Tupac’s Mother

Eminem at the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony honoring Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.

Photo: Featureflash/Depositphotos
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Rappers may have a tough-as-nails image, but many are ultimately sensitive artists. This perfectly describes Marshall Mathers, best known as Eminem. Following a complicated youth, he discovered hip hop, a path that would turn him into one of the most successful recording artists of all time. While he eventually became a star, he remained grounded, paying tribute to those who inspired him to develop his unique rapping style. One of them was Tupac Shakur, who died before Eminem's career took off. Still, Mathers took the time to honor his legacy in the form of a drawn portrait, which he sent to Shakur's mother, Afeni, alongside a poignant letter.

The letter and the portrait were published in Tupac Remembereda 2008 book edited by Molly Monjauze. Per UNILAD, the original pieces were reportedly placed on display in the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Georgia. In the powerful handwritten message, Eminem addresses how Tupac shaped him as a rapper.

The letter begins with Eminem apologizing for his choice of drawing tool. “Dear Afeni,” he writes, “Sorry if it looks a little sloppy, I could've done a little better if I had the right pencils. Instead, I had to draw it in pen. Plus, I just kind of thought of the idea a little too late. But I've been drawing since I was 10, and I thought you might like it.” Before getting into hip-hop, Mathers found solace in comic books and dreamed of becoming a comic book artist when he grew up. But it wasn't just a mere wish, as he was a pretty good illustrator for his age, as his early Marvel sketches show.

Mathers then thanked the famed rapper's mother for what she had done for him. “Anyways, thank you for always being so kind to me. You are a true Queen, and I mean that in every sense of the word. I will never forget the opportunities you have given me. You will always be in my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers.”

Eminem released his debut album, Infinite, in 1996, the same year Tupac Shakur died. At the time of his passing, Tupac was one of the most influential and successful rappers of all time—and Mathers himself was a big fan. “As I have said before, you have no idea how much your son and his music has inspired, not only the “Hip Hop” world, but, speaking for myself, has inspired my whole career. He was, and still is, the true definition of a ‘Soldier.'”

The rapper then concludes with an inspiring memory. “When I was feeling at my worst; (before fame, before Dre) I knew I could put that “2Pac” tape in, and suddenly, things weren't so bad,” he told Shakur's mom.” “He gave me the courage to stand up and say “F**k the world!” “This is who I am! And if you don't like it, go f**k yourself!” Thank you for giving us his spirit, and yours!” In a final display of humility, the Detroit rapper signed off simply as “Marshall.”

You can see the full letter, as well as Eminem's portrait of Tupac, below.

Eminem once sent Afeni Shakur, Tupac's mother, a heartfelt letter expressing his admiration for the later rapper, along with a pen portrait he had drawn.

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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