Dear Mama

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"Dear Mama"
Single by 2Pac
from the album Me Against the World 2Pac's Greatest Hits
Released February 21, 1995
Format 12"
Recorded July 1994
Genre Hip hop
Length 4:39
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Tupac Shakur
Producer(s) Tony Pizarro, DF Master Tee (co-producer), Moses (co-producer)
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
2Pac singles chronology
"Cradle to the Grave"
"Dear Mama"
"So Many Tears"
Music video
“Dear Mama” on YouTube

"Dear Mama" is a song by American Rap artist 2Pac. The track was produced by Tony Pizarro for 2Pac's third solo album, Me Against the World, which was released in 1995."Dear Mama" samples the songs "Sadie" .(1974) by The Spinners, and "In All My Wildest Dreams" (1978) by Joe Sample.[1] "Dear Mama" was released on February 21, 1995 as the first single for the album. The single was released during the time of Tupac's incarceration and sold over 7 million copies during that time. The song was written by 2Pac as a dedication to his mother, Afeni Shakur.[2]

The song is considered by critics, fans, and purists as one of the greatest hip hop songs of all-time, and it is considered one of 2Pac's best songs in particular, being ranked number four on's "Top 100 Rap Songs" list.[3]


"Dear Mama" was written in homage to his mother, Afeni Shakur. Record producer Tony Pizarro, explained that

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.[4]

According to, The Philadelphia Tribune, George Yancy who has a Ph.D in Philosophy writes "Dear Mama" is rapped over a rather slow beat. The slowness of the beat creates in the listener a mood of reflective reminiscence. Tupac begins by creating a context where his mother was simply taken for granted against the backdrop of his rather mischievous behavior. He says, "Suspended from school, scared to go home, I was a fool with the big boys breaking all the rules." He then reflects on how he no doubt blamed the wrong person: "I shed tears with my baby sister. Over the years we were poorer than the other little kids. And even though we had different daddies, the same drama, when things went wrong, we blamed mama. I reminisce on the stress I caused..."

George Yancy explains "Tupac Shakur has truly provided us with a Black matriarchal praise song. It penetrates to the heart of how many of us perceive our Black mothers. It pulls us into the center of Tupac's own individual sonmother symbiotic relationship and yet it speaks to our own often dormant memories of just how wonderful our mothers have been. Thus, listening to Tupac's "Dear Mama" tends to revitalize an appreciative attitude for one's dear mother. The cut itself is transformative; it forces us to literally see our mothers differently, to understand our mothers differently, and to appreciate our mothers more."[5]

Commercial Success[edit]

The song topped the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart for five weeks and peaked at number 9 on the Hot 100. It also topped the Hot Dance Music Maxi-Singles sales chart for 4 weeks. The single was certified Platinum by the RIAA on July 13, 1995.[6] The single was the most successful of all the singles released from the album.

Critical & Impact[edit]

Snoop Dogg said in an interview that this song displayed an introspective side of 2Pac, which made him different from other rappers, because "he went inside", something other rappers were hesitant or unable to do.

The song appeared on Fox series New York Undercover episode "Manchild". The official remix is produced by Nitty and features Anthony Hamilton on the 2006 release Pac's Life.

DJ Earworm has used "Dear Mama" in two mashups. The first, "Heartless In A Bottle", used the line "They say I'm wrong and I'm heartless" from "Dear Mama" combined with The Fray's cover of Kanye West's "Heartless" and three other songs. The second mashup, "Mama", was inspired by British singer EJ, who cites 2Pac as an influence.


"Dear Mama" is one of 25 songs that were added to the National Recording Registry in 2010. The Library of Congress has called "Dear Mama" "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." The honor came seven days after what would have been 2Pac's 39th birthday. 2Pac is the third rapper to enter the library, behind Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy.[7][8]

It is considered by many to be 2Pac's most emotional and most respected song, and is praised by many artists (Eminem mentions it as his favorite song),[9] even by many artists who are not involved in the hip-hop business. It was selected as one of many songs you must hear and download in the musical reference book 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: And 10,001 You Must Download.

Music video[edit]

The "Dear Mama" music video was directed by Lionel C Martin while 2Pac was incarcerated; thus, a Tupac look-alike had to be used for certain moments in the video. Afeni Shakur was also featured, shown flipping through pages of a photo album containing pictures of a younger Tupac. The video also shows snippets of articles relating to the Black Panthers, alluding to her history as a member of this political organization.

Track listing[edit]

12", cassette, CD, maxi[10]
  1. "Dear Mama" (LP Version) — 4:41
  2. "Dear Mama" (Instrumental) — 5:21
  3. "Bury Me a G" — 4:59
  4. "Dear Mama" (Moe Z. Mix) — 5:09
  5. "Dear Mama" (Instrumental Moe Z. Mix) — 5:09
  6. "Old School" (LP Version) — 4:59

Credits and personnel[edit]



  1. ^ "2Pac's Sample-Based Music". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. "Me Against the World - 2Pac". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  3. ^ Adaso, Henry. " Rap/Hip-Hop: 100 Greatest Rap Songs". Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  4. ^ Jake Brown (2005). Tupac Shakur: 2Pac in the Studio (The Studio Years (1989-1996). Amber Books. p. 31. ISBN 0-9767735-0-3. 
  5. ^ George Yancy (18 April 1995). "Tupac Shakur's 'Dear Mama' strikes a cord in all black children". Philadelphia Tribune. 
  6. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - Platinum Singles". Retrieved 2009-07-03.  Click "Advanced [+]", then click "Single Name" and write Dear Mama, and then click "Search".
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Tupac: Resurrection.
  10. ^ "Dear Mama (US Single #1) at Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  11. ^ " – 2 Pac – Dear Mama". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  12. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche –" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  13. ^ " – 2 Pac – Dear Mama" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  14. ^ " – 2 Pac – Dear Mama". Top 40 Singles.
  15. ^ " – 2 Pac – Dear Mama". Singles Top 60.
  16. ^ "2 Pac – Dear Mama –". Swiss Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "2Pac Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for 2Pac.
  18. ^ "2Pac Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for 2Pac.
  19. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1995". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 

External links[edit]