Respect the Classics: A$AP Ferg and Tupac Shakur


Zoe Joy

The influence that Tupac’s music, artistry, talent, and style has had on the next generation of rappers is easy to spot. Considered to be one of the most influential rappers ever, Tupac was the foundation for most if not all rappers. However, there is one modern-day rapper whose voice, image, and presence seem to be styled in the same vein as Tupac; A$AP Ferg. Before we dive into their similarities, let’s talk about the classic icon himself, Tupac.

Lesane Parish Crooks was born in Manhattan but eventually moved to Los Angeles where he began his music career, where he chose the moniker Tupac Amaru Shakur, the name of a rebel leader who lived during the Spanish rule of Peru. This name is representative of the role that Tupac would eventually take upon himself. Having lived through social injustices that he had observed and been victim to, he began writing songs and rapping as a way to channel his experiences with social injustices that he had observed and been victim to. His lyrics and style of rapping shone a light on the realities of being a young black man on the West Coast. Tupac’s lyrics discussing his grapples with identity was a refreshing topic to hear about in the rap genre as many other artists of that time were boasting about guns and violence.

Despite his lyrics detailing the social injustices he and his peers had endured, he eventually became embroiled in the west and east coast rap conflict that would eventually lead to his shooting and subsequent death. After living on both coasts and creating music influenced by both of these locations, the cause of his death seemed to come as a bitter irony, leading many theories to be created regarding his death.  It was widely speculated that Notorious B.I.G was his assassin, who ended up being murdered shortly after Tupac. Another popular theory is that he faked his death and escaped to Cuba. This particular theory proves the adoration and everlasting influence of Shakur: his fans will go to no end to keep Tupac alive and well in their hearts and minds.  Regardless of the truths of either of these theories, his impact on the rap game is undoubtedly present.

A$AP Ferg is an east coast rapper from Harlem who was born into an era when Tupac’s music was at its peak, as Shakur was still alive. A member of the A$AP (Always Strive And Prosper) mob, a group of rappers created in Harlem in the early 2000s, Ferg had always been described as a “hustler” by his rap peers. He had done art and clothing design as a way to express his creative streak before becoming a rapper. In this process, he channeled all of the anger from growing up as a young black man in Harlem. The aggressive rap type “Trap” is his signature style. Though his manner of rapping is unique to the A$AP mob, his voice and lyrics are heavily influenced by Shakur.

Here are some lyrical comparisons, but for the most transparent similarities, listen to their voices!

Tupac “Hit Em Up”: “I ain’t got no mother****** friends/ F*** your b**** and the clique you claim”

A$AP Ferg “Value”: “F*** all my enemies, never had any sympathy”

Rap is one of the newest genres to be introduced into the music scene. Due to, icons like Tupac have already become legends and left their impact and inspired many up and coming rappers to make their own mark. Sure, go and listen to that A$AP Ferg album that just dropped, but make sure to blast Tupac beforehand. Why? Because you gotta respect the classics!