First off, Happy Birthday to one of the most influential rappers of all time, Tupac Shakur. Today, he would’ve been 44. Born Lesane Parish Crooks, Tupac is still taking over the world with his revolutionary rhymes and was taken from us way too soon at the tender age of 25. We all know the story, we all remember the day. Every year we celebrate the life of a legend. This year, singer Jhené Aiko had a special way to show love to one of her favorite rappers.
The singer channeled her inner Tupac, taking pictures in the same infamous poses as the deceased rapper, exclusively for MTV. Check her out:
Tupac x David Lachapelle’s “Becoming Clean” photoshoot, 1996
Tupac, All Eyez On Me, 1996
Tupac’s Greatest Hits, 1998
Love it. Though Jhené was a mere 8 years old at the time of Tupac’s death, she studied his life and soon came a big fan. She sat down with MTV and spoke on how she became familiar with Pac:
MTV: June 16 would’ve been ’Pac’s 44th birthday and he was 25 when he passed away. At what age did you become aware of Tupac? What was your earliest memory of him?
Aiko: My earliest memory of Tupac — I’m from L.A., born and raised, so I think the station at the time was 92.3 the Beat. They obviously played all the West Coast hip-hop and R&B. I’m super young, I was born in ’88, so when ’Pac was at his prime, I was still a toddler, I was a baby. I guess I have early memories of hearing him on the radio and seeing his CDs laying around because I have older brothers and sisters. But I didn’t form a personal love for him until I was a teenager and I saw “Resurrection” and living in L.A. they play Tupac still like he’s a new artist on certain stations. So I grew up listening to him and loving the music. I always liked the way he looked, I always had a crush on him — that started in elementary school. When I saw “Resurrection,” I was so inspired. I was young at the time and obviously the people that were older, that got to witness Tupac in his prime, they were already — I was late. I was a kid just discovering something at the right time when I could fully understand what he was all about.
She goes on to talk about the pressure of depicting Tupac, how she relates to him, and more. She also talks about her favorite song, which is, hands down, one of my FAV-O-RITE songs by Tupac, “Keep Your Head Up,” and why it means so much to her. Read more of Jhené’s MTV interview and check out her covering Tupac’s “Keep Ya Head Up.” There are more recent, live covers that she’s done, but this studio performance is actually my favorite.