Rick Ross Praises Tupac At 40th Celebration, Mike Epps Gives $10k

Rapper Rick Ross expressed his affinity for Tupac Shakur at a birthday celebration in Stone Mountain, GA, stating the rapper was a unique role model for a generation that looked up to the deceased icon.

The event, held at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation (TASF) acted as a 40th birthday celebration for Tupac, which featured Meek Mill, Bun B, Warren G, Too Short, jazz singer/producer Roy Ayers and Erykah Badu.

"For a lot of lil' dudes in a single parent home [like me] with my mother, Tupac played father for a lot of dudes like me," Rick Ross said to the crowd at the event. "Tupac was the first one that showed me how to be fully committed. I took [aspect of him like] his [loyalty], to his hard work, his ethic, his family with me."

The Miami rapper also stressed the impact Tupac has had on the youth growing up.

Ross continued, "When we talk about his record sales, let's not forget the role he played to all the little Black boys around the world."

Erykah Badu also commented on Tupac at the gala.

"My first reaction to Tupac was he's not a rapper, he's not an actor, he's a savior of sorts. But he came at a time when people weren't looking for a savior, they were looking for someone who looked like them," she said. "But saviors, sometimes are just doing the work, they are just doing their job."

Then, the eccentric singer proceeded to speak, then sing a song, "Soldier," in dedication to Afeni Shakur.

During her performance, Badu's microphone audio was cut, for reason unknown, causing some confusion.  "I want this to end the way it was meant, with peace," Badu concluded with a raised fist.

Comedian Mike Epps served as the Master of Ceremonies and he also presented Afeni Shakur with a $10,000 check for TASF. About 500 people attended the celebration.