When all of the stars align for SXSW, anything can happen… and it usually does. On Saturday, March 19th, I had the privilege of witnessing and documenting one of those epic moments.

Before you ask… no, it was not Jay-Z and Kanye bringing ‘all that power’ to an abandoned power plant. Although, that was brilliant. Wiz Khalifa popping up on stage with Big Sean, Bun B… basically everybody except The Strokes, was a pleasant surprise throughout the festival.

But Diddy, aka Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy, performing a tribute to Tupac, Biggie and Nate Dogg along side Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Daz and Kurupt is MASSIVE. For so many reasons.

Anytime two music juggernauts like Snoop and Diddy join forces at a music festival, it is newsworthy. But when a festival that is traditionally not hip hop focused brings artists like that together to celebrate the lives of their fallen friends… who were also music giants…the moment is historic. Particularly knowing how in the mid-90s the media perpetuated an “East Coast vs. West Coast battle” between Bad Boy and Death Row. Making it seem like the Israel vs. Palestine conflict when it was really more like the Red Sox vs. Yankees. Champions who were WINNING and became rivals. It happens.

What made Saturday night’s performance so special was the uninhibited solidarity. Everyone on stage donned t-shirts in memory of Nate Dogg. Everyone with a mic belted out Nate’s classic “Ain’t No Fun” verse, Tupac’s “Hail Mary” and Biggie’s “Hypnotize.” Uncle Snoop was on stage groovin’ as the elder statesman. Even Stones Throw artists Dam-Funk and Mayer Hawthorne got in on the action. It was like watching a New Orleans Second Line. Friends and family gathered together to sing, dance and celebrate the lives of  loss loved ones.

As a lover of music and student of history, I am honored to have witnessed this moment and be able to share it with you.

“AIN’T NO FUN”

“HYPNOTIZE”

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