Kendrick Lamar made hip-hop fans everywhere take notice last week when he performed "i" on "Saturday Night Live." K-Dot, with his half-braided head of hair, all-black contact lenses and spastic movements, definitely caught the attention of Wu-Tang Clan's RZA.
When Lamar was performing, RZA was out in Los Angeles celebrating the birthday of his cousin and fellow Wu-Tanger Ol' Dirty Bastard, who passed away 10 years ago in 2004. "We celebrated in L.A., we had a kung-fu night in a movie theatre. We showed '5 Deadly Venoms' and we had a special ODB cake made," the Wu leader told MTV News on Thursday.
During the birthday celebration, a friend of RZA's showed him Kendrick's performance. "He just said to me, 'Yo I just feel like Kendrick is showing respect to Dirty right now, do you see this,'" he recalled. "I looked at it and said, 'Wow, that looks [like] respect to me too.'"
Kendrick hasn't commented on the performance, so what fans (and this writer) saw as a homage, could've just been a coincidence. Still, the way Lamar swayed his head back and forth recalled ODB's most famous music videos, from “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” to “Brooklyn Zoo.”
The Black Hippy MC does have history with the Wu -- RZA did appear briefly on "Ronald Reagan Era" on Lamar's 2011 Section.80 LP -- but the Abbot says he hasn't spoken to Kendrick since "SNL" last week.
"Dirty is a unique MC, a unique artist that's in our time period of this world. And it's good when you see other artists -- whether it was done intentionally, maybe he didn't even think that... it definitely made me nod my head," RZA said. "We miss Ason, see miss him."