Analysis Of Tupac Shakur’s Song Dear Mama

The song “Dear Mama” is a song written by Tupac Shakur at the age of 25 from East Harlem, New York (Tupac Shakur). There is only one album version of this song called “Me Against the World”. The song is about Shakur forgiving his mother for abandoning him and thanking her for raising him the appropriate way she could. The song is an inspiration to all the single mothers raising their children in the absence of a father figure in their lives.

This style of music was rare during that time period. The song has a very sad piano tune mixed in with a rap beat. It’s a unique melody for Shakur to use. Instead of using his “Gangster Rap” style of music, he chose a meaningful sound for his listeners to understand his situation with his mother.

Tupac Shakur shows how the mystical bond between a mother and her child is hard to separate. For example, he sings, “sweet lady, place no one above ya, you are appreciated”. This is the thesis of the whole song, in which you see how Shakur places no one above his mother. To him she is irreplaceable.

The first verse of the song focuses on how the relationship between Shakur and his mother was off to a rocky start. Shakur says, “when I was young me and my mom had beef, seventeen years old, kicked out on the streets”. He goes on to explain that his actions as a kid did not help the relationship between the two. For example, he tells the audience how he was “suspended from school” and hung out with “big boys breaking all the rules”. Many listeners related to this issue then and even today as numerous young men continue to fall victim to crime and drugs in their communities. Shakur admits “When things went wrong, we’d blame mama” and speaks about how his mother was a “crack fiend” and on welfare. Shakur’s mother could not keep a job to care for her family. Before graduating he was evicted from his household and was forced to move to Marin City, California to live with a family friend. However, despite his mother’s struggles, Shakur realizes that he also contributed to his mother’s stress over his own actions. He states, “I reminisce on the stress I caused, it was hell hugging on my mama from a jail cell”. At the end of this verse Shakur explains he understands the tough situation his mom was going through. For example, he says “For a woman it ain’t easy trying to raise a man. You always was committed…. Tell me how you did it”. He sings his mother’s praise and appreciates everything his mother has done for him. Shakur ends the verse with “there is no way I can pay you back, but the plan is to show you that I understand’’.

The second verse describes his life without a father figure that impacted him when Shakur’s father died, he didn’t have no feelings for him “cause my anger wouldn’t let me feel for a stranger”. He said this because all he wanted was for his father to be part of his life and have him guide him in the right way. Shakur says he “turn to the thugs even though they sold drugs they showed a young brother love. When Shakur decided to move out of his house he needed some money so he started to “slang” drugs and be with the thugs and started to make a living on that making money, to help his mom with paying rent and giving her gifts like “I hope you got the diamond necklace I sent to you”. This is an important phrase in the song because in a black community there are fathers that leave their family’s which leaves the mother as a father figure. However, at the same time, when it doesn’t work out your peers become a role model for you because they have your back mentally and physically to make it out the hard life.

In verse three Shakur is pouring him a cup of liquor and “reminisces” about his rough childhood. Shakur’s mother “never kept a secret from and always kept it real with him”(Genius). Shakur is thankful for his mother the way she raised him to become a better person. Even though the rough patches got more and more difficult she still found a way to help him in any challenging situation.

My thoughts to the song “Dear Mama” by Tupac Shakur is that the situation that he went through is also still going on in America right now. Many single mothers are trying to get their children the life they deserve. Without a father figure in their lives, the mother ends up playing a huge role as the father. This is very difficult to do and to live like that because they must work double shifts to even provide for them to live on.

Living a life without a father figure is difficult for the children to become happy. It is also difficult for children in poor families as the they go on to look for a job to help their mother to help pay for rent and put food on the table. For mothers in low income families, the pressure is massive as they want to be able to provide for their kids and see a smile on their children faces. Mothers want to say to them that it’s going to be okay and we are going to get out of this lifestyle. In this song Shakur sends the message that one day they’ll be able to say thank you mom for giving us a reason to hang on.

Appreciating your mom is the best thing you can do. Shakur gives thanks to his mom even though he lived a hard childhood. When he looks past all the bumpy and rough times he went through; he admires the success and hard working hours she put in to give “miracles” on special occasions. For Shakur, the little things count more than anything. Seeing his mom struggle is something he will remember forever. He takes that experience he’s lived through and remembers to always show the love his mom gave him to move on.

Your mom is the biggest blessing in your life, and no one will replace her or even be at the same level she is at. The love she has and the support she gives us is something we shouldn’t take for granted. A mother will do anything for you to see a smile on your face. For her that’s a remarkable accomplishment that she has done for her family to help you become the person that you are today.

Works Cited

  • Editors “Tupac Shakur Biography”. Biography (11 September 2019) Retrieved from
  • “Dear Mama, Meaning”. Shmoop Editorial Team.(11 November 2008)
  • “Reminiscing” access 11 November 2019
  • Shakur, Tupac. “Dear Mama”. Genius. (21 February 1995) Retrieved from
16 August 2021
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