Muhammad Ali was not a rapper, but to many of the genre’s best lyricists, he was influential in paving the way for hip-hop stars to succeed and had a lasting impact on the art form.
From Jay Z to Eminem to Chuck D, some of hip-hop’s strongest voices remember the late, great Ali in their own words, through statements and interviews with The Associated Press.
Ali died last Friday at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease:
“His bravery and selflessness was inspirational. The most impressive human I have ever come across. He is literally my hero.”
“Muhammad Ali has been a constant source of inspiration and a heroic figure throughout my life. He’s always been there, as a symbol for fighting against the odds, the system and the hatred. It’s hard to believe he’s actually not with us anymore, but he will never be gone.”
“Float like a butterfly & sting like a bee was bigger than all rap hits combined. Ali wasn’t a rapper but was the first rap superstar. He was one of the first Americans who you didn’t even have to meet in person but can still learn how to be a man by watching his ways,” said Nas, who referenced Ali in his songs “The Message” and “My Generation.”
“Brave man, woman or child could have learned to be a better human just by hearing him speak. May he rest in paradise forever.”
“Muhammad Ali was an Earthizen,” Chuck D said, referring to the 2015 Public Enemy song “Earthizen.”
“He transcended what he was told to be in Louisville to become the maximum definition of a Human Being.”
Check more on ABC News