R&B singer Jon B. recalls what it was like in the studio with Tupac Shakur & why the rapper paved the way for other artists.
“Are You Still Down” by Jon B. featuring Tupac Shakur was a hit for the R&B singer. The song was featured on Jon’s 1997 release Cool Relax—a year after Tupac was gunned down in Las Vegas.
Jon has spoken about his time with Tupac often, and he recently chatted with Los Angeles radio station Power 106 to discuss what it was like working with the “softer” side of the rapper.
“In the studio is different than sending pieces,” the singer said of working with Tupac, adding that when two people are personally working together, the energy is different.
Jon recalled that Tupac told him that a music career was about productivity, and the rapper gave Jon a goal to up his output. “He was like, ‘Man, if you don’t do three songs a day, you trippin’.
You wasting time.’” In a current culture of music whose very backbone is streaming services and sharing music at a rapid rate, Tupac wasn’t far off from the future.
“He was the precursor to artists like Nipsey Hussle,” Jon added. “Being a sort of revolutionary character, being caught in the whirlwind of being the revolutionary, political character that he started to be. And then also the artist that he was, the actor, the emcee, and the songwriter.
I was really blessed to get to know the Tupac that was the artist and the softer side of Tupac that wanted to go with his feelings a little bit,” Jon said with a laugh. “Get in your feelings for this song and just let it happen.
I don’t really hear a lot of Tupac songs where he let his guard down like that. Just once in a while.”
The singer added that he and Tupac worked together on “Are You Still Down” just three weeks prior to the rapper’s murder. Watch Jon B. share his Tupac memories below.