“Dear Mama” is deemed to be the best of its genre, created by infamous hip-hop artist 2Pac in 1995. It is a tribute to his mother and the lead single from his third studio album: “Me Against the World”.
In “Dear Mama”, 2Pac discusses his childhood poverty and his mother’s addiction to crack cocaine, but also emphaises his love and respect for his mother, so they supersede the hard times and bad memories. Afeni Shakur (2Pac’s mother) was an active member of the Black Panther party in New York , and was often absent during his childhood, choosing activism over him. Afeni was also absent during 2Pac’s adolescence when she became addicted to crack cocaine. At age 17, 2Pac was kicked out of his home by his mother and they did not have contact until years later when her son was a well-known musician. 2Pac’s record producer Tony Pizarro spoke about “Dear Mama” in Jake Brown’s 2005 book “Tupac Shakur: 2Pac in the Studio (The Studio Years 189-1996): “Pac used to make references to ‘Dear Mama’ in a lot of different songs and I’d always be like ‘You know that’s a songs in itself.’ And one day he was like ‘I got somethin’ for that.’ And he was like ‘Man, you have In My Wildest Dreams by the Crusaders’ and I was like ‘Yeah.’ He was like ‘Yeah, I got something for that.’ So I got the track ready. Pac just came through and just dropped it and blessed it with them vocals.”
The music video features Afeni Shakur herself, who re-enacts her reconciliation with a lookalike of Tupac Shakur. 2Pac was unable to be in the music video as he was in prison serving a four and a half years in prison. The official 2Pac channel on YouTube uploaded the track on the 5th July 2011, and as of September 2019, it has over 226 million views and almost 1.7 million likes.
Release Date: 9th February 1995
Songwriter/s: Tupac Shakur
Producer/s: Tony Pizarro, DF Master Tee (co-producer), Moses (co-producer) & DJ King Assassin
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Accolades: When the track was released, it ranked across charts worldwide; #37 in Australia, #81 in Germany, #31 in the Netherlands, #4 in New Zealand, #43 in Switzerland and Sweden, #15 in the UK R&B charts, #15 and #84 in the UK Singles charts, #1 on the US Billboard Hot Dance chart and the US Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic chart, #3 & #7 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart, #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and lastly, #16 on the US Billboard Rhythmic charts. “Dear Mama” is certified Platinum in the US. It has also been placed at #18 on Rolling Stone’s 2012 list of “The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time”, as well as being in About.com’s “Top 100 Rap Songs” list. LA Weekly also placed the song at #6 on their “The 20 Best Hip-Hop Songs in History”, as well as Rate Your Music placing it at #7 on their “200 Best Hip Hop Songs Of All Time” list. The track has been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress, who deemed it to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States”.