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Jim Belushi reflects on ‘very special connection’ he had with Tupac Shakur

The pair starred in Shakur's last movie, "Gang Related."
/ Source: TODAY

Jim Belushi has a special place in his heart for Tupac Shakur.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of their film, “Gang Related,” and Belushi still has fond memories of his relationship with the late rapper.

“My heart jumps every time I hear his name,” he said Friday on the 3rd hour of TODAY. “I love Tupac. We had a very special connection, you know.”

Belushi and Shakur in a scene from "Gang Related."Alamy Stock Photo

Belushi, who can currently be seen on the second season of his Discovery series, “Growing Belushi,” said he and Shakur spent time on the set making their own music.

“We would rap together in the trailer,” he said. “I kept up with him, you know. I did the original rap on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1983, and I told him that. I said, ‘I was rapping when you were in grade school, man.’”

“I did quite a few raps on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” he added — evidence of which can be found in old sketches on YouTube.

Tupac Shakur And James Belushi In 'Criminal Intent'
A quarter of a century after "Gang Related" was released, Belushi still talks fondly about Shakur.Getty Images

Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996, about a week after he was shot in Las Vegas. His murder was never solved. “Gang Related” was released on Oct. 8, 1997, one of three films that came out after his death, along with “Bullet” and “Gridlock’d.”

Belushi has spoken about Shakur before.

“I love Tupac,” he told Larry King in 2017. “You know, Tupac was a studied actor. He went to high school of the performing arts — he was a musician, a writer. (It) was one of the best working relationships I’ve had.”

“It was a tremendous loss,” he said about his death. “He was a wonderful, wonderful man and a great talent.”