On this day, 19 years ago, Tupac Shakur died in a Las Vegas hospital. According to reports from the time, he had been shot four times in a street ambush near the city’s Strip. He was 25. In honor of his death, a 28-year-old Kendrick Lamar penned a touching tribute today, recounting the first time he saw the visionary rapper, one of his heroes and greatest inspirations, in Compton, California. “The people that you touched on that small intersection changed lives forever,” he wrote. “I told myself I wanted to be a voice for man one day.”
The intersection Lamar refers to is that of the Compton Swap Meet, where Tupac and Dr. Dre filmed the music video for “California Love.” In a previous interview with Rolling Stone, Lamar recalled sitting atop his father’s shoulders, watching the duo drive by 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 fuck!’ Yelling at the police, just like on his motherfucking songs,” Lamar said. “He gave us what we wanted.” In a series of fitting nods, Lamar filmed the music video for “King Kunta” at the same location; he also stitched together a faux conversation with Shakur on “Mortal Man,” and came close to naming his album Tu Pimp a Caterpillar (i.e., TuPaC).
Here’s Lamar’s latest nod, his full tribute, which has been posted on Tupac’s website:
I was 8 yrs old when I first saw you. I couldn’t describe how I felt at that moment. So many different 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.