There’s no telling where Tupac Shakur’s career would be had he not been gunned down back in 1996. The passionate thug poet was taken at his peak, but Tyga is looking to breathe life into the rap icon’s lyrics with “Hit ’Em Up,” a new track he released on YouTube on Monday morning (April 1).
The song, which will appear on Tyga’s upcoming Hotel California LP (April 9), finds T-Raww rhyming alongside Jadakiss over an eerie DJ Mustard-produced thump track, where things get really interesting on the final verse. Rather than sample from a single ’Pac verse, Tyga pulled lyrics from “Komradz,” “Thug 4 Life” and “Thugs Get Lonely Too,” selecting choice lines and then adding his own to create an effect that sounds as if the fallen rap legend is actually rhyming back and forth with the self-proclaimed Last King.
When Tyga first revealed his Hotel California track list, many speculated on whether the Young Money spitter had attempted to remake Tupac’s inflammatory 1996 dis track, which took aim at the Notorious B.I.G. and Diddy. But this new version of “Hit ’Em Up” is no remake — plus it features New York rap favorite Jadakiss.
“I sent it to Jadakiss, and after that I was done with the song, and then I had came across some ’Pac vocals from a friend,” Tyga told us from the set of his “Molly” video in Los Angeles last month. “I was like, ’Man, this would be dope,’ but I didn’t really know how to use it properly.”
For the song’s hook, Tyga interpolated the chorus from C-Murder’s southern classic “Down for My N’s” and for the final verse opted to use parts of the ’Pac vocals at strategic points, in tandem with his own rhymes, creating one cohesive verse featuring both rappers. “When people hear it, they’re gonna think it’s real clever and they’re gonna really respect it,” he said.
What do you think of Tyga’s use of Tupac’s vocals on “Hit ’Em Up”? Let us know in the comments!