Tupac Shakur's Most Socially Conscious Lyrics: 10 Times He Was Most Awake (2023)

Tupac Shakurcontained crowds. He was a brilliant poet, a highly skilled and skilled actor, lawyer and freethinker. He is also the man who championed THUG LIFE (later explained as the acronym The Hate U Give Little Infants F—s Everybody), wrote songs about the expendability of women, and openly desired violence against his enemies.

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One of them does not cancel the other: 2Pac did things worthy of glory and others worthy of condemnation. But his words survived him, and many are as relevant now as they were when he was still breathing. In the aftermath of an election that saw a man elected on a platform of discrimination and white supremacy, we searched 2Pac's back catalog for meaning, looking for some of his more positive and socially conscious lyrics, hoping that 2Pac in his more awake. it can provide some levity for anyone confused or in pain.


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"Brenda Had a Baby"

From the start, 2Pac's rhymes were imbued with complex narratives, humanizing the downtrodden with equal parts empathy and rage. This famous story of a 12-year-old girl abused by her family, pregnant, abandoned and thrown into the street is one of the darkest and most moving. Pac presents the story in a single verse, with strong active language that paints a vivid picture free of flowery details. He's been mentioned by countless rappers, though not always as tactfully;Rick Rosshe once bragged in "Tupac's Back" that "Brenda is having my baby." Hmm.

"Now the baby is in the dump banging
Mama can't help it, but it hurts to hear her call
Brenda wants to run away
Mom says, you're making me lose my payment
Social workers here every day.
Now Brenda has to go her own way.
She can't go with her family, they won't let her stay.
No money, no babysitter, couldn't hold a job
She tried to sell crack, but ended up getting robbed
So now what's next, there's nothing left to sell
So she sees sex as a way out of hell.
He's paying rent, so he can't really complain.
Prostitute, found dead, and her name is Brenda, she has a baby."


(Video) Who Actually Killed Tupac Shakur

One of the most disturbing developments in the ubiquity of “trap” music is its separation from its origin: calling a neighborhood “The Trap” is literally a reference to the systemic oppression that prevents its residents from lifting themselves out of poverty. Here Pac describes some of Trap's Catch 22s.

"You know they locked me up in this prison of confinement
Happiness, living on the street is an illusion.
Even an easy criminal must be caught one day.
Shot or shot down with the bullet you bought
Kicking nine millimeters thinking about what the streets do to me
Because they never talk about peace in the black community."

"Hello if you hear me"

One of the things that made 2Pac so difficult for mainstream America to understand was the sheer plurality of his existence. On tracks like “Holla If You Hear Me,” he terrified suburbanites with his THUG LIFE stories and tacit approval of the criminal life. But with bars like these, it captures the anger and frustration of millions who feel trapped.

"clench your fists if you feel me, holla if you hear me
Learn to survive in Nine-tre'
I make rhyme pay, others make crime pay
Whatever it takes to live and stay
Cause no one else will give a fuck
So we live like caged beasts
Waiting for the day to release the rage
I'm still me, until they kill me
I love it when they fear me."

"Keep your head up"

Possibly the most uplifting 2Pac song of all time, Pac celebrates blackness, women, and black women, promoting hope and positivity amid tragic circumstances. The fact that it's so different from their more violent material is probably its greatest strength; if he can get the toughest gangsters to consider the strength and beauty of black women, maybe the rest of us can too.

“Some say that the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.
I say the darker the flesh, the deeper the roots.
I salute my sisters in welfare
2Pac cares if no one else cares
And I know they really like to hit you
When you go around the block, the brothers do a lot of antics
But please don't cry, dry your eyes, never give up
Forgive but don't forget, girl, raise your head
And when he says you're nothing, don't believe him
And if he can't learn to love you, you should leave him.
Because, sister, you don't need it"

(Video) 2Pac - Changes ft. Talent

"Beloved mother"

Almost all bad guys love their mother.

“I shed tears with my little sister over the years.
We were poorer than other children.
And although we had different fathers, the same drama
When things went wrong, we blame Mom.
I remember the stress I caused, it was hell
Hugging my mother from a prison cell
And who would think of elementary school, ayy
Would I ever see the penitentiary?
And running from the police, that's right
Mama lift me up, she smack my ass
And even crack, mommy
You were always a black queen, mama
i finally understand
It's not easy for a woman trying to raise a man.
you were always committed
Poor welfare single mother tell me how you did it
There's no way I can pay you back, but the plan
It's to show you that I understand; you are appreciated"

"Live and Die in LA"

This Pac paean to his adopted hometown of Los Angeles (Shakur was originally from the East Coast) is a love letter to a complicated city. He talks about gangs and police drama on an equal footing with women and marijuana, and even calls out the governor. But our favorite lyric is the beginning of the third verse, the tip of the hat to brown pride and a resemblance to segregated communities.

“It wouldn't be L.A. without the mexicans
Black love, brown pride and the decorations again
Pete Wilson trying to see us broke
I'm on some shit for all they owe"

"White Manz World"

An anthem that feels as urgent in late 2016 as it did in 1996. What's it like to be black in a world where white is right? When half the voting public wants to be run by racists?

(Video) We know who killed Tupac 🙏🏼 | #shorts

"Eating Jack-Mack, looking at walls of silence
Inside this cage where they captured all my anger and violence
Over time I learned some lessons, never fall for riches
I apologize to my real sisters, away from bitches
Help me create my black nation, reparations are due
It's true, trapped in this world I took advantage of you
So tell the babies how much I love you precious boys and girls.
Born black into this white man's world

"Ghetto Gospel"

It's hard to say what Pac would have thought of this posthumousElton Johncollaboration, but despite the relatively outlandish production values, his verse is as thoughtful and carefully considered as ever. Wrinkled lines of reflection like these, released after his death, are part of why so many have been reluctant to accept that he is gone.

“If I could remember before my hooded days
I sit and remember, thinking of happiness and good morning.
I stop and look at the younger one.
My heart goes out to them, they tasted the stress they were under
And nowadays things change
Everyone is ashamed of youth.
because the truth seems strange
And for me it's the other way around
We left them in a world that's cursed and it hurts
Because one day they'll push the button, and all good men like Malcolm X or Bobby Hutton will die for nothing.
Doesn't that make you cry? the world looks sad
When you wipe your eyes, you see clearly
There's no need for you to fear me
If you take your time and listen to me
Maybe you can learn to cheer me up
It's not about black or white, because humans
I hope we see the light before it's ruined; my ghetto gospel


Nothing more gangsta than a Bruce Hornsby sampler, huh? The first single from his posthumous albumGreatest Hitscollection, this was likely the first time your grandmother heard Pac's beats, when the DJ was playing at her friend's bar mitzvah. After Obama, people loved to quote and prove that "we're not ready to see a black president," but after Trump, 'Pac's words seem more prescient than ever.

"I see no change, all I see are racist faces
Misplaced hatred brings misfortune to the races
We down, I wonder what it takes to do this
A better place, let's erase the waste
Remove evil from people, they will be doing good
'Cause both the white and the black are smoking crack tonight
And the only time we relax is when we kill each other
It takes skill to be real, time to heal each other
And though it seems heaven sent
We are not ready to see a black president
It's no secret, don't hide the fact:
The penitentiary is overcrowded and full of niggas
But some things will never change
Try to show another way, but you're still in the drug game.
Now tell me, what's a mother to do?
Being real doesn't attract the brother in you
You gotta operate the easy way
"I made a G today" but you did it in a despicable way
Sell ​​crack to the kids
"They have to pay me!" well hey but that's the way things are””

"May U C pride in the panther"

The voice may be Yasiin Bey (fkaMos Def), but the words are all Mr. Shakur's. Taken from a collection of his poems that contemporary artists have reinterpreted ("The Rose That Grew From Concrete"), this first part of a two-part interpretation of Pac's Panther metaphor gets an old-school spelling twist in the Moss interpretation. . The original poem, then, quite directly evokes the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, of which his mother, Afeni Shakur, was a member.

(Video) 2Pac - Ghetto Gospel

"You can see the pride in the panther
As it grows in splendor and grace
Knocking down obstacles placed in the way,
of the progression of his race.

You can see the pride in the panther.
while she raises her puppies alone
The seed must grow independently.
the fact that it was planted in stone.

You can see the pride in the panthers
as they come together as one.
The flower blooms brightly,
and dazzles the rays of the sun.”


What is Tupac's highest rated song? ›

Best Tupac Songs: 26 Essential Tracks
  • 8: Can't C Me. ...
  • 7: 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted. ...
  • 6: I Ain't Mad At Cha. ...
  • 5: California Love. ...
  • 4: Changes. ...
  • 3: Life Goes On. ...
  • 2: Ambitionz Az A Ridah. ...
  • 1: Hail Mary.

What was Tupac most famous song during his lifetime? ›

California Love,” featuring Dr.

It's one of Tupac's most known and successful songs, reaching number one on Billboard Hot 100. Dr. Dre wrote the song and intended it for himself.

What songs has Tupac sampled? ›

Sampling: 2Pac
  • Winter Sadness. Kool & The Gang. Kool & The Gang. ...
  • In All My Wildest Dreams. Joe Sample. Joe Sample. ...
  • Walk On By. Isaac Hayes. Isaac Hayes. ...
  • Brandy (I Really Miss You) The O'Jays. ...
  • Inside My Love (Remastered) Minnie Riperton. ...
  • Computer Love. Zapp & Roger. ...
  • O-o-h Child. The Five Stairsteps. ...
  • Tonight Is the Night (Pts. 1&2)

What was Tupac's ideology? ›

He wants, no needs change. Tupac claims things about himself, like how he believes he is “socially aware” (Tupac: Resurrection). He is a positive person, yet knows it is not positive at every corner of the world. He believes we as a nation are uneducated, and because of that ignorance, people suffer.

Who is the king of rap 2Pac? ›

Tupac Amaru Shakur (/ˈtuːpɑːk ʃəˈkʊər/; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known as 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper. He is widely considered one of the most influential rappers of all time.

Who is Tupac favorite singer? ›

2Pac's favorite musician was none other than the also-legendary Prince, who sadly past away just last year.

How many #1 does Tupac have? ›

Throughout his career, Shakur has sold 125 million records worldwide. He has scored 5 No. 1 albums on Billboard 200 and 8 No. 1 albums on Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums.

Who was Tupac's favorite actor? ›

1. Tupac and Jim Carrey. When Tupac was in prison, Jim Carrey reportedly used to write funny letters to the rapper in an attempt to cheer him up. The comedian was rumoured to be Pac's favourite actor.

What was the last words of Tupac? ›

“He looked at me, and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth,” says Chris Carroll, a retired sergeant with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, in a new feature with Vegas Seven. “And then the words came out: 'F**k you. '”

Did Tupac have a number 1? ›

The discography of Tupac Shakur, an American rapper, consists of 11 studio albums. Throughout his career, Shakur has sold 125 million records worldwide. He has scored 5 No. 1 albums on Billboard 200 and 8 No.

Does 2Pac have a diamond record? ›

Before we begin, it's important to note that compilations have been omitted from this re-evaluation, though 2Pac Shakur's 1998 Greatest Hits album is indeed certified diamond.

What is Tupac best known for? ›

Tupac Amaru Shakur ( June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996) was an American rap artist, actor, activist, and poet. He is known by various alias such as: 2Pac, Makaveli and Pac. He is known in the Guinness Book of World Records as the top-selling hip-hop artist, having sold over 73 million albums worldwide.

What was Tupac's biggest accomplishment? ›

Tupac became the first artist ever to have an album at number one on the billboard 200 while serving a prison sentence. MTV ranked him at No. 2 on their list of The Greatest MCs of all time while VH1 ranked him No. 3 on their list of 50 Greatest Hip Hop artists.


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