Rapper Kendrick Lamar commemorated the 19th anniversary of the passing of rapper Tupac Shakur with a moving tribute to the artist.
The tribute that Lamar wrote appeared on 2Pac’s official website today, September 13. The commemoration written by Kendrick was a note to the late rapper. Lamar tells 2Pac that he was inspired by him to be the artist he is.
“I was 8 yrs old when I first saw you. I couldn’t describe how I felt at that moment. So many emotions. Full of excitement. Full of joy and eagerness. 20 yrs later I understand exactly what that feeling was. INSPIRED. The people that you touched on that small intersection changed lives forever. I told myself I wanted to be a voice for man one day. Whoever knew I was speaking out loud for u to listen. Thank you, K.L.”
Lamar is talking about the time he saw 2Pac and Dr. Dre at the Compton Swap Meet filming the video for the iconic song, “California Love.” Kendrick was on his father’s shoulders and was able to witness the two game-changing rappers create the video for one of the most recognized hip-hop songs ever made.
Lamar tells Rolling Stones about watching Tupac yell at cops while filming his video. Kendrick liked that he stayed true to his music.
“I want to say they were in a white Bentley. These motorcycle cops trying to conduct traffic but one almost scraped the car, and Pac stood up on the passenger seat, like, ‘Yo, what the f—!’ Yelling at the police, just like on his motherf—–g songs. He gave us what we wanted.”
Kendrick was obviously inspired not only that day, but also throughout his career by Tupac. Lamar filmed his own video “King Kunta” at the same place in honor of the rapper.
Paying homage to the quintessential 90’s rapper isn’t new for Lamar, however. On his latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, that was released earlier this year in March, Kendrick includes a 12-minute track titled, “Mortal Man”, which includes a fictitious dialogue between Lamar and Shakur. The conversation was made possible by using bits and pieces of an interview that Tupac did back in 1994 with Mats Nileskär, a Swedish journalist.
In an interview about the fictional conversation, Kendrick told MTV that he wanted to use the recording because what was said in the 1994 interview applied to the exact message he was trying to get across with his album. Kendrick felt that he needed to get the message to the world.
“What intrigued me the most, what gave me the idea, is that the answers that Pac is giving, are answers for today.”
Make sure to check out Kendrick Lamar in To Pimp a Butterfly.
[Photo Courtesy of Jason Merritt/Getty Images]