*Rapper Rick Ross along with singer Erykah Badu, jazz musician Roy Ayers, rapper Bun B, and the rap group 8Ball & MJG took part in a 40th birthday concert celebration Thursday night for the late Tupac Shakur. [Scroll down to watch clips from the concert.]
The event doubled as a fundraiser for the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which helps students develop their skill in the creative arts.
“Tupac played father for a lot of dudes like me,” Ross told a crowd of about 500 at the Atlanta Symphony Hall after he and Meek Mills performed their single “Tupac Back.”
Comedian Mike Epps hosted the concert and presented a $10,000 check to Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, for the foundation. Attendees stood and applauded Epps for the donation, according to an AP report.
“We celebrated his life more so his death,” said actress Jasmine Guy, a close friend of the rapper who showed a video to honor his life and highlight his music career. “His voice still resonates. It’s amazing. That’s why is important that we keep the Shakur foundation going.”
Badu took the stage to sing several of her songs including “Bag Lady.” The Grammy-winning singer also sang “Soldier,” which was dedicated to Afeni Shakur, who sat a few rows away with a smile on her face.
“He came at a time when people weren’t looking for a savior, they were looking for someone who looked like them,” Badu said. “But saviors, sometimes are just doing the work, they are just doing their job.”
The birthday celebration occurred while New York City police are still investigating an online posting from a convicted felon who claims to have shot and robbed Shakur in 1994 — two years before the rapper was slain. According to website AllHipHop.com, Dexter Issac says he was paid $2,500 by James Rosemond to shoot and rob the rapper.
Rosemond’s lawyer said his client did not orchestrate a plot to ambush Shakur.
“You have a lot of family, friends and fans that still love for Tupac,” rapper Warren G said of Issac’s confession. “A lot of people aren’t going to let something like this go. For a dude who is just now coming out with this, it’s bold.”