It’s Mother’s Day! So it’s only right that this week’s #CultreClassic shows love to all the moms out there with hip-hop’s most classic ode to mom, “Dear Mama” by 2Pac.
“Dear Mama” was released in 1995 as the lead single from Pac’s third album, Me Against the World. The song is of course is a tribute to his mother, Afeni Shakur. In the song, Pac details his childhood struggles including the family’s poverty and his mother’s addictions. But Pac argues that his love and deep respect for his mother supersedes the bad memories. A sentiment any child turned adult can relate to in terms of learning to appreciate the struggles and sacrifices our parents made for us.
Afeni Shakur was an active member of the Black Panther Party in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. And, as she recalls in the opening of the music video for the song, she gave birth to Tupac a month after she was acquitted of more than 150 charges of “Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks.” Their relationship was rocky however. Afeni was often absent during his childhood out being an activist and later becoming addicted to drugs. Tupac was kicked out by Afeni at 17 and they had little contact for many years. But in 1990, realizing her habit was out-of-control, she enrolled in a rehab program. And after completion she reconciled with her son, becoming his biggest advocate.
The song is considered one of 2Pac’s greatest which is saying something with is legendary catalog. It topped the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart for five weeks and also peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 going Platinum in the process. And for being a love letter not only to his mom but mothers and black women everywhere, “Dear Mama” is a certified #CultureClassic.
In 2010, the song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress, who deemed it a work that is “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and informing or reflecting life in the United States.” And calling the song “a moving and eloquent homage to both the murdered rapper’s own mother and all mothers struggling to maintain a family in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference.”
If you enjoyed this look at Dear Mama from 2Pac check out some of our other Hip-Hop inspired content:
- #CultureClassics – Poetic Justice
- #CultureClassics – Boyz N The Hood
- 13 Must Read Hip-Hop Autobiographies
Written by @TalentedMrFord