As the world streams Kendrick Lamar’s latest album ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,’ we rewind back when the Compton native revealed he was inspired by Tupac and Dr. Dre’s ‘California Love’ music video.
In 2012, when speaking with Chicago’s WGCI’s The Morning Riot, Compton-born rapper Kendrick Lamar revealed he witnessed the filming of the second version of California Love music video. Only 8 years old at the time, Kendrick looked on from his father’s shoulders, watching Tupac and Dr Dre shoot the Hype Williams directed video. This moment sparked something inside that would lead him to become one of the leading artists of his generation.
Talking on The Morning Riot, Kendrick Lamar reminisced to when Tupac and Dr Dre hit the streets of Compton. “I was in Compton and they were shooting the first version of it,” he said. “They stopped right in front of the middle of the street. My pops had seen them and came back to the house and got me. My father went to the house to get me and put me on his shoulders to watch them shoot.”
A year later, Kendrick would detail the moment that forever changed his life when he spoke to the Recording Academy. “I was around eight years old They was shooting a video in my neighborhood in Compton. My father seen them, went two blocks down and got me, by the time he got me everybody was out there it was pandemonium,” Lamar explained to the Grammy’s official YouTube Channel. “He put me on his shoulders and there they was, Dr Dre and Tupac right there. I think it was a white Bentley and they was shooting the video.”
Kendrick is referring to the music video for ‘California Love’ the remix, not the infamous music video with a cameo appearance by Chris Tucker. “That moment right there, whether I knew it or not, branched me off to what I’m doing now, it was already designed in destiny. 15 years later I meet Dr. Dre and I explained that story to him. He remembered that same exact moment and he remember them kids that was out there. I said Dre, ‘I was one of them kids that was there,’” Kendrick said.
Years later, Kendrick would work alongside Dr. Dre and reference Tupac on his songs such as ‘Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst.’ “You wrote a song about my sister on your tape, And called it Section.80 / The message resembled “Brenda’s Got a Baby” / What’s crazy was I was hearin’ about it, But doubted your ignorance.”
Speaking with Power 106 FM back in 2012, Kendrick spoke about being inspired by Tupac, “What ‘Pac showed me, was really like not to be scared to show vulnerability in your music, because that makes the biggest connection with the audience.”