One of the more surprising features from Tyga’s Hotel California tracklist may be an inclusion of Tupac. The iconic Rap figure has now been dead over 16 years, but has had his unreleased vocals appear on numerous albums in that time, ranging from Ja Rule’s Pain Is Love to Freddie Foxxx’s Crazy Like A Foxxx to Bun B’s Trill O.G.
Even more curiously, Tyga’s Tupac-featuring song, “Hit ‘Em Up,” shares its name with ‘Pac’s 1996 diss track with The Outlawz. The song, released as a Death Row Records single B-side to “How Do U Want It?,” attacked The Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim, Faith Evans, Diddy, Mobb Deep, and Chino XL, among others.
For Tyga, who was six years old when Tupac was murdered in a 1996 drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, his song has its own importance. “I got the vocals, and I just didn’t know what to do with ’em,” Tyga told MTV News recently. He had initially intended to get fellow YMCMB star Nicki Minaj on the song, but instead went with Jadakiss. “I was done with the song, and I had came across some [Tupac] vocals from a friend. 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,” Tyga believes. “They’re gonna really respect it.”
MTV pressed the Los Angeles, California native about the significance of the title. “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. However, the song may share a trait with its questionable namesake. Tyga implied to use such a title, an artist is saying, “You ain’t dissin’ nobody, but you lettin’ it be known [that] you don’t rock with certain people.”