Shock G and Tupac Shakur's friendship: How late rapper helped out Digital Underground legend with his verses
Tupac's rise to fame is often credited to Shock G and Digital Underground. Here's the full story of how the two became so close
One of late Tupac Shakur's oldest friends and collaborators Shock G was found dead in Tampa on April 22. The rapper, the lead singer for hip hop group Digital Underground is well known for many things, including introducing Tupac to the music world. His help proved to be invaluable in making Tupac a well-recognized name.
Despite Tupac leaving Digital Underground soon, the two remained close. Shock G is known for his collaborations with other singers like Dr Dre, Monie Love, Raw Fusion, Luniz, and Prince, but he is almost always linked to Tupac. Even to this day, Shock G is well known as the man who launched Tupac. Their story is well-known in the music world, but it is worth retelling nonetheless. Here's how Shock G became the man responsible for Tupac's rise as the dominant rapper of the late '90s and perhaps one of the best of all time.
The Shock G-Tupac story
Before becoming a big name, Tupac was learning the ropes like any other musician. He joined Digital Underground in1990 as a roadie and backup dancer. In fact, you can spot an 18-year-old Tupac as a background dancer in Underground's 1990 hit 'The Humpty Dance'. It was in 1991 that Tupac got his first major role, in 'Same Song' and followed that up in 1993 with his first hit 'I Get Around.
Since those early days, Tupac became close to the Underground family, juggling a variety of roles. Shock G learned just how valuable he was during the production of 'I Get Around'. Since he was just engaged, the rapper was struggling to fulfill all his roles. "(Tupac) just looked at the look in my eye and didn’t have to say much more,” he told Rolling Stone. Within five minutes, Tupac had not only written Shock's verse for him but also managed to navigate around the engagement.
"I was worried," Shock recalled. "'How am I going to be the freak of the industry while I’m engaged?’ And then I got to the point in the verse, where (Tupac) wrote, ‘just cause I’m a freak doesn’t mean that we could hit the sheets.’… Pac blessed our relationship. I could tell that he knew what my struggle was." It was that moment the two became close friends, and as Tupac rose to fame, Shock G was there to help him every step of the way.
Shock was one of the producers of Tupac's debut solo album, '2Pacalypse Now'. He also made several appearances in many of Tupac's songs while giving him the long rope he needed at Digital Underground. When Tupac left the group to go solo, he did so without any animosity. In a 2015 interview, Shock recalled, "I knew he was an angel. Not an angel (in) a storybook, an angel for real, in this real world".
The feeling was mutual. In 1995, Tupac said on his time at Digital Underground, "I look back with the greatest fondness. Those were like some of the best times of my life..." Unfortunately, their friendship was cut short by the brutal murder of Tupac. Who knows what they would have gone on to achieve had he still been alive?