Tupac Shakur is different from other rap artists. He tells a true story in each of his songs, much like classical artists did with instruments and rock musicians do with lyrics, guitars, and drums. It could be about his childhood, where he grew up, how he grew up, his mom, his friends, how he survived, his life since he was famous, and so on. Not only is he considered one of the greatest rap artists ever, but he was also involved in writing poetry and acting, further adding to his resume and cementing him as a legend in the musical world.
His song “Dear Mama” focuses on his mom, and how thankful he is that she raised him and his sister when their father's left at an early age. It is truly a beautiful song and very different from many other rap songs in that it is softer in form and the lyrical content is about his mom, different from what most rappers talk about in their songs.You can really tell from he song how much he loves and respects his mother.
Here is a sample of the lyrics that really stuck with me: “And when it seems that I'm hopeless you say the words that can get me back in focus/when I was sick as a little kid/to keep me happy there's no limit to the things you did/and all my childhood memories/are full of all the sweet things you did for me/and even though I act crazy /I gotta thank the Lord that you made me/there are no words that can express how I feel/you never kept a secret, always stayed real/and I appreciate, how you raised me/and all the extra love that you gave me/I wish I could take the pain away/if you can make it through the night there's a brighter day/everything will be alright if ya hold on/it's a struggle everyday, gotta roll on/and there's no way I can pay you back/but my plan is to show you that I understand/you are appreciated”. This really tells the story of the whole song, and the heart that went into writing this piece of music.
The first time listening to this song will really get your attention, but in subsequent listenings you will be able to pull out small details in the music and lyrics. For example he would use slang such as “slanging” for selling drugs and “pouring out liquor” for reminiscing about someone that has passed away.
Another thing to point put is that the chorus samples a song “Sadie” by The Spinners and “In All My Wildest Dreams” by Joe Sample. If you listen to these two songs you can hear the parts that the producer of “Dear Mama” pulled out.
After really letting it soak into you it is easy to feel what 2pac was feeling when he wrote this song, which you could not feel from just one listening. This song has a feeling to it, one that evokes all types of emotions, especially if one was close to their mother and appreciate what they have done for them.
This is the side of rap music that people don't really see, a side that truly is beautiful and that has something to say. Rap ends up getting a bad reputation because so many artists talk about killing, robbing, drugs, and women in their songs, yet there are artists that break the mold and make a song about something good, such as 2pac's “Dear Mama”. This song can be related to by anyone who has or had a mother who worked hard to raise their children, no matter how hard it may have been at times, and that is really the beauty of this piece of music.