If i die all i know is i’m a mother f***ing legend… And Tupac Shakur will always and forever be a Legend!
The legendary Tupac Shakur would’ve been 44 years old if he hadn’t been gunned down back in 1996. Although his life was cut short at the age of 25 years old, his music till this day has been proven to be a lifetime of inspiration for future generations. One of those artists is Jhene Aiko.
To celebrate the legend’s birthday, she decided to recreate 3 classic Tupac photos with photographer Danny Williams. The first photo was Jhene doing Pac’s stare from his Posthumous Greatest Hits Collection.The second captured photo was his gaze from his “All Eyez On Me” album cover. The third Photo was Aiko laying in the bath covered in gold Jewellery saluting David Lachapelle’s “Becoming Clean” photo shoot, which took place right after ’Pac was released from jail in 1995.
Jhene tells MTV that she was only 8 years old when Tupac passed away but never appreciated his music until she was a teenager but after watching a 2003 documentary on Pac’s life called “Tupac Resurrection” she was affected forever. From that point on she became inspired and motivated by his music, which led her obsessing to research on what he was like as a person. At the age of 20, Jhene found herself pregnant, feeling hopeless, living off food stamps and not being ready for motherhood, to the point where she broke down into tears until she heard Pac’s song “Keep ya Head up” on the radio, that was when the song changed her “Mood of her pregnancy” and turned her negative thoughts into positive ones.
Read Interview Below:
On recreating the three iconic photos of Tupac
I would say like a few years ago. It’s been a few years, but every birthday of his I always want to do something. I feel like I have to give his legacy some type of present. It started off, one time I did a video shoot where they spread his ashes. And it was a coincidence that I was there that day, we were all like, “Wait a minute, this is Tupac’s birthday and we’re here on the same beach.” So after that, it’s been several years since then and every year I want to do something. I wrote a letter one year, I put it on my tumblr. It’s a special day because to me he was such a special person, so this year it was just an idea that me and my team had and I’m passionate about Tupac so it was something and I was like, “Yeah.” It was just random, it just happened on the spot; it was a really good idea for his birthday.
On her earliest memory of Tupac
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.
On how things changed for her after seeing “Resurrection”
I remember getting home from watching that and just feeling so inspired and I wrote this long journal entry about how inspired I was and motivated. I was so in awe of his story that I just dove in. I got books and I tried to find everything about Tupac. I started watching all the interviews, I started becoming obsessed and it wasn’t about the music at that point. It was about him as a person and what he did as far as aside from music.
Her favourite Tupac Song
Keep Ya Head up
The impact of the song “Keep Ya Head Up” had on her
I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter and that song came on. I just cried like never before. His words meant so much to me. I just felt like I needed to hear that. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I wasn’t in the best position to have a child. I was growing hopeless. At that moment I was leaving a free-clinic-type-of-family-planning-type of place to do my prenatal stuff. I was on the county, I had my E.B.T. card, I had my food stamps. I was in the system and I felt like, “Where was my life going at this point?” It was hard for me to be optimistic. But that song came on and that’s what changed the whole mood of my pregnancy.
From that day when I heard that song, I was like, “You know what? He’s right. I need to just keep my head up and keep it pushing and do what I have to do.” From then on everything turned into a positive experience. It really stuck at that moment, because that was 2007 and the song had been out for years and years and years. Not until I had that full-circle moment of understanding struggle and pain did I relate to the song that much more.
What’s your favourite Tupac Song?
Watch Jhene’s covering of “Keep Ya Head Up” Below: