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Kendrick Lamar pays tribute to NWA's Eazy-E: 'I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him'

Compton rapper pens an open letter to the late MC

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Kendrick Lamar has written an open letter paying homage to late NWA rapper Eazy-E.

Eazy-E, a fellow Compton native, passed away in 1995 – when Lamar was only seven years old.

Writing in Paper Magazine, Lamar writes: "I remember when I was five or six years old, waking up one morning and seeing this guy bust through the TV screen.. I remember looking at that video and just feeling like, 'Man, this dude feels like an action superhero'. Little did I know, Eazy-E came from my same neighborhood in Compton."

"But as a kid, I really couldn't grasp the idea that the world knew about what we're going through in my neighborhood. I didn't get that idea until my debut album, 'good kid, mAAd city', came out and that's when I truly understood how NWA felt, coming from this small neighborhood but going all the way around the world and seeing these people singing these words lyric-for-lyric and understanding the trials and tribulations that are going on in the community. "

"I understand how they feel now. It's an inspiring thing. Once I got the idea that people are actually listening, it made me want to continue making music more."

Lamar continues of the influence Eazy-E has had on his career as a whole: "I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for Eazy and I wouldn't be able to say the things that I say, talk about my community the way I talk about it, for good or for bad."

"He's 100% influenced me in terms of really being not only honest with myself, but honest about where I come from and being proud of where I come from."

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Lamar recently paid similar homage to Tupac Shakur to mark the 19th anniversary of the rapper's death.

"I was 8 yrs old when I first saw you," he wrote. "I couldn't describe how I felt at that moment. So many emotions. Full of excitement. Full of joy and eagerness. 20 yrs later I understand exactly what that feeling was. INSPIRED."

Lamar continued: "The people that you touched on that small intersection changed lives forever. I told myself I wanted to be a voice for man one day. Whoever knew I was speaking out loud for u to listen."

Kendrick Lamar released his latest album 'To Pimp a Butterfly' in March to critical acclaim.

NWA, meanwhile, were the subject of new biopic Straight Outta Compton. The film was released in cinemas during August.

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