Tyga’s forthcoming album, Hotel California, features some of the expected big names: Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne. But the biggest — and most surprising — guest of all is Tupac. The late, great rap icon is featured alongside Jadakiss on the album’s fifth track, “Hit ‘Em Up,” also the name of one of Pac’s most indelible tracks. In a recent interview with MTV, Tyga discusses how the song came together, and in another surprise, explains that it’s not a cover of Tupac’s original.
The Young Money rapper recalled that he initially planned for his label mate Nicki Minaj to be on the track, but then switched lanes to Jadakiss. "I wanted Nicki to be on the song at first and then we never did it, so then I went back to the song later," he told MTV.
Tyga went on to explain that he thought the record was finished, until a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose — in the form of some unreleased Tupac vocals. "I sent it to Jadakiss and after that I was done with the song. Then I had came across some 'Pac vocals from a friend," Tyga said. "I was like, 'Man this would be dope,' but I didn't really know how to use it properly. When people hear it, they're gonna think it's real clever. They're gonna really respect it."
Interestingly enough, Tyga insisted that song isn’t a cover of Pac’s 1996 classic “Hit Em Up” — widely considered one of the best diss tracks of all time, with personal attacks on Notorious B.I.G., Diddy and others. "A lot of people think it's a remake of 'Hit 'Em Up,' which is his song. It's not a remake; it's an original," he said.
But Tyga says the song will still ruffle feathers, much like the original — although he wouldn’t elaborate any further: "When you're talking about 'Hit 'Em Up' you ain't dissin' nobody, but you lettin' it be known [that] you don't rock with certain people."
Hotel California hits stores on April 9.
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(Photos from left: John Ricard / BET, Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)