If he hadn’t been killed in 1996, Tupac would’ve been the perfect fit for R. Kelly’s musical madness. At least that’s the story Kelly is telling by now revealing that the “Ambitionz As a Ridah” rapper was originally the first artist he had in mind for the Best of Both Worlds collaborative album.
In a newly released clip, Kells tells Elliott Wilson during a CRWN interview that ‘Pac was part of the inspiration behind “I Wish,” one of his hits that appeared on 2000’s TP-2.com album. As the singer explains, “I told Pac, ‘I got an idea, man. We should do the Best of Both Worlds — rap and R&B.’ That was supposed to be the first Best of Both Worlds situation. The first song I wrote was ‘I Wish’.”
He continued, “If you listen to the flow on there, I was writing in a Tupac type of flow,” before mimicking the song’s lyrics in deeper tone reminiscent of Tupac.
Granted, Kelly has been known to fashion his own version of how history transpired, something that seeped to the surface in his GQ interview published earlier this year. But, he is a creative genius when it comes to music having been known to record hundreds and hundreds of songs while trapping himself in the studio, many of them never to be released. So even though Tupac passed years prior to these specific works publishing, Kelly possibly did pitch the idea before the slain MC’s death and decided to hold back on it until a later time.
We can’t go back and re-write history. Kelly and Jay Z ended up making BoBW back in 2002, which was a really good project that ended up being overshadowed by Ty Ty pepper spraying Kelly on tour. If you want to really play hypotheticals, imagine how bad that situation could’ve played out if it were ‘Pac. Best of Both Worlds 2 with Birdman happened but no one ever discusses it, thank goodness.
Could Tupac’s presence on the first edition steered the franchise in a whole/better direction? Probably, if he was really offered a shot in the first place. For now, the story lodges a spot in the what-if column filled with potential greatness that never was fully realized.