During a recent appearance on The Gloria Velez Podcast, the R&B crooner, 43, recalled hearing about ‘Pac’s passing — which he initially thought was “tabloid” news — during a brief stint in Cali, before he spoke about why he believes the late rapper’s legacy still resonates with so many around the world today.
“He was a pastor. He was good for a word, good for a sermon,” Ne-Yo began. “He was an amazing storyteller. His passion alone could carry him. You might not even need to know what he’s saying — just the way that he would say it and the energy and passion he would put into what he was saying.”
“It was contagious. You couldn’t listen to it and not throw up a West side,” he continued, throwing his hands up. “You from New Jersey or something and be like, ‘What the hell am I doing? Wait a minute,’” he joked, pointing out that ‘Pac was actually born in New York City.
“He was like a ghetto minister. He was talking about what was happening in the hood. You weren’t going to get that broadcast on the news, at least not in a positive way. So he was one of our ghetto newscasters. ‘This is what’s happening in the hood today and you locked into it.”
Watch the full clip below.
Ne-Yo’s comments come on the heels of backlash he received after he touched on the controversial topic of gender transitioning.
Earlier this month, during a separate segment of his interview with Velez, the “Miss Independent” singer revealed that he doesn’t agree with children being able to do what he referred to as “choosing their genders.”
“If your little boy comes up to you and says, ‘Daddy I wanna be a girl,’ you just let him rock with that? Where did he get that?” Ne-Yo said. “If you let this five-year-old little boy eat candy all day, he’s gonna do that.
“Like, when did it become a good idea to let a 5-year-old, a 6-year-old, a 12-year-old make a life-changing decision? When did that happen? Like, I don’t get that. I don’t understand that.”
Velez then talked about the process of gender transitioning, saying that she didn’t agree with puberty blockers or “cutting off his pee-pee,” to which Ne-Yo replied: “He can’t drive a car, but he can decide to change his sex?”
The commentary was quickly met with fallout as fans demanded an apology from the 43-year-old, who days later took to social media to say sorry.
“After much reflection, I’d like to express my deepest apologies to anyone that I may have hurt with my comments on parenting and gender identity,” he wrote. “I’ve always been an advocate for love and inclusivity in the LGBTQI+ community, so I understand how my comments could’ve been interpreted as insensitive and offensive.
“Gender identity is nuanced and I can honestly admit that I plan to better educate myself on the topic so I can approach future conversations with more empathy. At the end of the day, I lead with love and support everyone’s freedom of expression and pursuit of happiness.”
However, after continued criticism, Ne-Yo made it clear he wouldn’t be bullied for speaking his truth.
“First and foremost, I do not apologize for having an opinion on this matter,” he said in an updated post on Instagram. “I am a 43-year-old heterosexual man raising five boys and two girls. That’s my reality.
“Now, if my opinion offended somebody — yeah sure, I apologize for you being offended because that wasn’t my intention. My intention is never to offend anybody. However, I’m entitled to feel how I feel! I am absolutely entitled to feel how I feel, the same way you are entitled to feel how you feel.”