Keep Ya Head Up
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|"Keep Ya Head Up"|
|Single by 2Pac featuring Dave Hollister|
|from the album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.|
|B-side||Rebel of the Underground
I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto
|Released||October 28, 1993|
|Genre||Hip hop, R&B|
|2Pac featuring Dave Hollister singles chronology|
The song is at once a call for better treatment of women by fellow men, and a call to women, children, and poor people of color to 'keep ya head up' through inevitable tough times that arise in a system and society that make it 'hard to be legit and still pay the rent'. 2Pac also talks about rape, saying men have no right to tell a women where and when women should have babies or have sex. This song encourages women to stay strong. It addresses issues concerning lack of respect toward the female gender, especially poor black women. It has a very positive message, and is often used as an example of Shakur's softer side. Many consider it to be one of the deepest rap songs ever made and is often referenced by other artists in their work, building Shakur's persona as a very conscious and influential rapper.
Production and release
The beat is sampled from Zapp & Roger's "Be Alright" and the chorus is sampled from The Five Stairsteps' "O-o-h Child", but originally it was sampled from Big Daddy Kane's "Prince of Darkness". It was first released in Shakur's 1993 album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., later appearing after his death in 1998 in his Greatest Hits compilation. A "sequel" to the song, Baby Don't Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II) was released in 2Pac's posthumous album Still I Rise in 1999.
The video opens up with the words "Dedicated to the memory of Latasha Harlins, it's still on", in reference to the L.A. Riots. The video has a basic format with Shakur rapping in the middle of a circle surrounded by a crowd of people and in some scenes seen holding a young child. His mother Afeni Shakur also appears in the video.
- 2Pac performed this song Yo! MTV Raps in 1993 with Thug Life and Dave Hollister.
- Rap star Nas performed the song at the first MTV Hip Hop Honors in 2004 while wearing a top with a big picture of 2Pac and wearing a bandana in a similar way 2Pac wore his.
- Singer Jhené Aiko covered the song on Rap-Up TV in 2013. 
- The information regarding accolades attributed to Keep Ya Head Up is adapted from Acclaimedmusic.net.
|Bruce Pollock||USA||The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000||2005||*|
|Rock and Roll Hall of Fame||The Songs That Shaped Rock||2011||*|
|About.com||Top 100 Rap Songs||11|
|The Guardian||UK||1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear||2009||*|
This song was also used by South Central Cartel "Gangsta Love", covered by Lyfe Jennings and released on his 2006 album, The Phoenix, used in the soundtrack of the movie Freedom Writers and performed live by Nas at the MTV Rap Memorial in 2005 and at VH1's Hip Hop Honors in tribute to Shakur in 2004.
Lil Wayne also revealed that for the acoustic-driven How To Love, he pulled inspiration from late rapper Tupac Shakur’s inspirational 1993 hit, “Keep Ya Head Up” and said “That song is just sweeping the world. It’s touching every woman, that’s what it was for,” he said. “It was like Tupac had ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ and it was a message to women and little girls across the world just to keep your head up even though things are hard.
A2: mixed for Vibe Tribe Entertainment. B1: remix and additional production for Madukey Productions. B2: produced for Stayin' Busy Productions.
A1, A2, B1 contain samples from "Be Alright" (R. Troutman; Rubberband Music, BMI) as recorded by Roger. B2 contains samples from "Computer Land" (Saja Music/Troutman's Music, BMI) as recorded by Zapp.
CDS - maxi single
- "Keep Ya Head Up" (LP Version)
- "Keep Ya Head Up" (Vibe Tribe Remix)
- "Keep Ya Head Up" (Madukey Remix)
- "Rebel of the Underground"
- "I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto"
|US Billboard Hot 100||12|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||7|
- Engineer – Bob Tucker (tracks: A2, B2), Norman "Slam" Whitfield, Jr.* (tracks: A2, B2)
- Engineer [Remix] – Eric Flickinger (tracks: B1), Franklin Purrell (tracks: B1)
- Mixed By – D. Nettlesbey* (tracks: A2), Norman "Slam" Whitfield, Jr.* (tracks: A2)
- Producer – D-Flow Production Squad, The* (tracks: B2), D.J. Daryl* (tracks: A1, B1)
- Remix [Additional] – Norman "Slam" Whitfield, Jr.* (tracks: B2)
- Producer [Additional Production] – Bryant "Moe Dee" Johnson* (tracks: B1), Battlecat* (tracks: B2), Howard Johnson (2) (tracks: B2), Kris Kellow* (tracks: B2), Lea Reis (tracks: B1), Paul Arnold (tracks: B2), Vibe Tribe (10) (tracks: A2)
- Vocals – Black Angel, The (tracks: A1, B1), Money B (2) (tracks: B2), Shockalock (tracks: B2)
- "2Pac Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for 2Pac.
- "2Pac Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for 2Pac.