Brenda's Got a Baby
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|"Brenda's Got a Baby"|
|Single by 2Pac|
|from the album 2Pacalypse Now|
|Released||October 20, 1991|
|Genre||Conscious hip hop, R&B, Golden age hip hop|
|Writer(s)||T. Shakur, D. Evans|
|Producer(s)||Deion "Big D" Evans, The Underground Railroad|
|2Pac singles chronology|
"Brenda's Got a Baby" is the solo debut single by Tupac Shakur, and tenth track from his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now. The song, which features R&B singer Dave Hollister, is about a twelve-year-old girl named Brenda who lives in a ghetto, has a baby, and is incapable of supporting it. The song explores the issue of teen pregnancy and its effect on young mothers and their families. Like many of Shakur's songs, "Brenda's Got a Baby" draws from the plight of the impoverished. Using Brenda to represent young mothers in general, Shakur criticises the low level of support from the baby's father, the government, and society in general. Shakur wrote the song when he read a newspaper article about a twelve-year-old girl who became pregnant from her cousin and threw the baby in a trash compactor.
The opening consists of a duet singing the song’s title repeatedly. Much of the rest of the song is one long verse performed by Tupac.
The verse begins with Tupac telling a group that he has heard about Brenda’s pregnancy. He also notes that the girl has had virtually no education in her life, having only barely obtained minimal skills in writing, and calls this a "damn shame" because she has little hope of a future. Her family is very poor, and her father is a heroin addict. Brenda is impregnated by her unnamed boyfriend, who is her older cousin, but she is successfully able to hide her pregnancy. Tupac explains that it wouldn’t matter to her family if she gave birth, as long as they got their cut of the government assistance.
Although she believes that her cousin (the father of her baby) will stay with her and help her raise their child, he is merely a molester, and abandons her before she gives birth to their baby on the bathroom floor. Brenda disposes of the baby by throwing it in a trash bin but later retrieves it when she's drawn to the baby crying. Her mother scolds her severely, and Brenda becomes so ashamed of herself that she runs away from home.
Brenda now begins a life on her own, and unsuccessfully seeks employment. Her attempt to sell crack cocaine results in robbery, and eventually she views prostitution as her only way to make money and survive. This life path leads to her murder. What becomes of other characters, such as her family, her boyfriend, and the baby itself, is uncertain. The final minute or so of the song consists of a chorus singing “don’t you know she’s got a baby” repeatedly.
The video begins with "based on a true story," although the characters themselves are fictitious, Shakur wrote the song after reading a story in the newspaper of a twelve-year-old girl getting pregnant from her cousin and trying to dispose of the baby in a trash can.
Parts of the video were included in Tupac: Resurrection, a 2003 documentary on 2Pac's life, in a television show later in the music video of Ghetto Gospel, in the music video of Changes and appears as a bonus in its entirety on the film's DVD.
The video was directed by the Hughes Brothers.
In popular culture
The song was mentioned in Scary Movie. When the character Brenda Meeks was with her boyfriend Ray, 'All About You' from All Eyez On Me comes on the radio. She then went on to say that she had a shout-out on the album, hinting to her throwing a baby in the trash.
North Carolinian rapper Median released a sequel to "Brenda's Got A Baby", aptly titled "Brenda's Baby". The story follows Brenda's baby, who has been named "Rose" in reference to Shakur's poem, "The Rose That Grew From Concrete". Kendrick Lamar references the song in "Keisha's Song (Her Pain)" with the line "To make you fiend for more, she play Mr. Shakur, that's her favorite rapper, bumping "Brenda's Got a Baby" while a pervert yelling at her." Papoose wrote a "sequel" to the song on his 2013 song "Pimpin' Won't Die" where the baby grows up to be a prostitute. Later in 2012 Kendrick Lamar released another song that references Shakur titled "Sing About me, I'm Dying of Thirst". In the track he references his previous Brenda's Got a Baby reference with the lyrics 'You wrote a song about my sister on your tape, and called it "Section.80," the message resembled "Brenda's Got a Baby"'. Meaning that the meaning of his song prior to this had a similar plot to Shakur's song. Coincidentally the second verse of "Sing About me, I'm Dying of Thirst" in which he references "Brenda's Got a Baby" the plot circulates around a young prostitute who takes pride in her work, only to have her voice fade away signifying her death towards the end of the verse.
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||23|
|US Rap Singles (Billboard)||3|