California Love: Kendrick Lamar Covers Tupac, Promises New Black Hippy Material

Kendrick Lamar is going from height to height in the rap game nowadays, and the Compton rapper recently paid homage to one of the genre’s true greats, covering Tupac’s “California Love” before going on to tease fans with the possibility of new material from Black Hippy, a supergroup with Lamar and his TDE labelmates.

iHeartRadio this week hosted its first ever music awards show in Los Angeles, and Kendrick performed at the show in addition to Arcade Fire and Pharrell Williams, according to Pitchfork. Prior to performing, Kendrick related a tale in which he and his father watched as rap legends Dr. Dre and Tupac shot part of the video for “California Love,” saying that the experience left an indelible impression on him.

The Compton-born Lamar then took the stage and thrilled a hyped up crowd with his own rendition of “California Love” before segueing into “MAAd city,” one of the standout tracks from Lamar’s hit album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.”

Kendrick’s Tupac tribute is well within keeping with the artist’s history. Before Lamar blew up with the release of Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, he would often give shouts out to the late rap great. His last words on Section 80 – his second-most recent album, which you really should hear – are “Thug Life,” an undeniable reference to ‘Pac. Kendrick even feels a spiritual connection to Tupac, having said in 2011 that the rapper appeared to him in a vision:

“”It’s a real situation where I was sleeping one night and a silhouette [came] and he said, ‘Keep doing what you doing, don’t let my music die,’” Kendrick said at the time.

Kendrick has been doing his best to carry on in ‘Pac’s tradition, and his star has been on the rise. Lamar has also promised that fans can expect more content from him in the near future. He won’t give away too much in the way of hints on his next full-length album, but Kendrick did say that fans can expect some new material in the form of teasers from Black Hippy.

Asked at the premiere of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 what fans should expect from Black Hippy, Kendrick delivered some good news.

“Yeah,Black Hippy,” Lamar told MTV News, “we’re moving around, man. They’ll be getting something soon. They might get a few early freestyles or something, ’cause I know fans are heated for us.”

Earlier this year, the head of Kendrick’s label said that fans could expect a debut record from Black Hippy – a supergroup consisting of Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and ScHoolboy Q – as early as September of this year. The year should also see a new solo release from Kendrick, one that is said to be darker than his debut album.