September 13th marked the 19th anniversary of the death of Tupac Shakur, and to commemorate the rapper, Kendrick Lamar, one of the “offspring of the legacy” Shakur left behind, penned a touching tribute on 2Pac’s official site.
“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,” Lamar wrote (via Pitchfork). “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.”
As Lamar told Rolling Stone, he was eight years old when he sat atop his father’s shoulder and witnessed Tupac and Dr. Dre film the video for “California Love” at the Compton Swap Meet. ” “I want to say they were in a white Bentley,” Lamar said. “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 fuck!’ Yelling at the police, just like on his motherfucking songs. He gave us what we wanted.” Lamar would later shoot a scene at that same swap meet for his “King Kunta” music video, a nod to 2Pac.
To Pimp a Butterfly‘s final track, “A Mortal Man,” features a fictional conversation between Lamar and Shakur, pieced together using sound bites from 2Pac’s 1994 interview with Swedish journalist Mats Nileskär. On that track, Lamar says to 2Pac, “Being one of your offspring of the legacy you left behind I can truly tell you that there’s nothing but turmoil goin’ on.” Lamar also considered naming his acclaimed LP Tu Pimp a Caterpillar – which would shorten to TuPaC – before deciding to stick with To Pimp a Butterfly.