Troy Ave drew smirks and scoffs after the Brooklyn rapper appeared on The Breakfast Club and mentioned the late Tupac Shakur. Rocking a bulletproof vest, Troy talked about how his reputation rings out in the streets and said that people see him in a way comparable to Pac himself.
“N----, it’s the second coming of 2Pac — it’s new Pac,” Troy said. “I go do shows, n----, everything’s different. The handshakes are different, the [women that suck a n---- d---] different. Everything’s different.”
Social media had a field day with Troy's statements.
"Soon as rapper starts calling themselves the 'new Tupac/New Pac' that's when I tune out," tweeted one person. "I never really cared for Troy Ave but still."
Another tweeted: "Wait did Troy Ave really say he the new Tupac ? Lol"
Troy may have been referring to how other people see him; nonetheless, the public went wild with the statements. But make no mistake--there have been countless rappers who have tried to evoke 2Pac's persona and mythos in their own music and image. Here are the five most memorable.
Unless you were paying attention to underground rap in 1997, you probably have never heard of Blac Haze. Actually--even if you were paying attention, you've probably never heard of him. But Haze was a 2Pac soundalike who surfaced after Pac's death and managed to generate a little buzz amongst fans convinced that their fallen hero was still lurking somewhere--possibly under a pseudonym. This track made some mixtape rounds--then the Haze faded.
In the early 2000s, Lil Zane was like a Tiger Beat 2Pac. A Nickelodeon Makaveli. With a little bit of LL Cool J at his most PG-friendly. From the calculated durag, to the undeniably Pac-influenced flow, Zane drew less-than-favorable comparisons to the late rapper/actor he so clearly tried to emulate. Zane had his successes though, becoming something of a teen idol before his time in the spotlight came to an end.
The entire No Limit camp had a 2Pac fetish; from the constant quoting of cliched Pac-isms ("only God can judge me," "holla if ya hear me," etc.) to the way the No Limit chains recalled Death Row Records' iconic medallions at their peak, it was clear Pac loomed large for Master P and Co. But no one was more infatuated with Pac's flow than Corey Miller aka C-Murder. The now-incarcerated rapper's rhymes always borrowed a lot from Pac--but managed to miss the mark on dexterity and insight.
To be fair, Ja Rule never sounded like 2Pac. But he certainly didn't have any qualms about bogarting elements of the late legend's image and look. Ja's ever-present durag and penchant for going shirtless seemed to evoke physical comparisons to Pac, and even going so far as to reimagine 2Pac's 1994 classic "Pain" for his fairly unnecessary quasi-tribute track "So Much Pain."
Chyna Whyte had arguably the most memorable verse on Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz's 2000 hit "Bia Bia" and the rhymer from NOLA drew instant comparisons to 2Pac with her fiery flow. Like too many female rappers of the early 2000s, Chyna never fully got the chance to shine on her own, eventually reinventing herself as a religious rapper.