Tupac, the spiritual guide

Jhené Aiko in Tupac's skin, in her version of the cover of the album All Eyes On Me. © Danny Williams

My spirit guide; yours, maybe. And the guide of so many people, plenty of artists who found inspiration in his work, who found their motivation in him and who were moved by his values.

That is the case for R&B princess Jhené Aiko who paid homage to him on what would have been his 44th birthday. A beautiful deference to the man she has admired since she was young. With the help of photographer Danny Williams, she’s recreated three cult pictures of the rapper for MTV. The one below evokes Tupac’s album All Eyes On Me cover:

Jhené used the occasion to share her own version of “Keep Ya Head Up”, one of Tupac’s classics. Here’s the favorite bit of the singer:

Kendrick Lamar versus Tupac

He’s probably one of closest modern artists that compares to Tupac. He describes him as his “spiritual father”. He also represents the West Coast, shares the same principles and approaches the same issues. On a deeper level, he has a strong relationship with Tupac, to the point where he saw the rapper in his dreams when he was 21, telling him to do music. He renamed the initial title of his album To Pimp A Butterfly, to make the initials coincide with Tupac’s, and as a result he got “Tu Pimp A Caterpillar”.

K-Dot has grown up and matured within his music thanks to Tupac, and now he talks about the same issues as his mentor. I thought I should immortalize their bond by putting them face to face.

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For the first time, we can see both men together, sharing their views on issues such as respect, diversity within ghettos, women, the responsibility that comes along with the lyrics they write, or even the change. In this scenario, 2Pac asks Lamar about all those things that are still so important today, 19 years after his death:

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