Brenda's Got a Baby
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|"Brenda's Got a Baby"|
|Single by 2Pac featuring Dave Hollister and Roniece Levias|
|from the album 2Pacalypse Now|
|Released||October 20, 1991|
|Genre||Conscious hip hop|
|Producer(s)||The Underground Railroad|
|2Pac singles chronology|
"Brenda's Got a Baby" is the solo debut single by Tupac Shakur. Though Trapped was released 4 weeks before, it's the tenth track from his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now. The song, which features R&B singer Dave Hollister singing background vocals with Roniece Levias, is about a 12-year-old girl named Brenda who lives in a ghetto and has a baby she can't support. 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 12-year-old girl who became pregnant by her cousin and threw the baby into a trash compactor.
The opening consists of a duet singing the song's title twice. 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 she has had virtually no education, and calls this a "damn shame" because she has little hope of a future. Her family is very poor and her father is a drug addict. Brenda is impregnated by her unnamed boyfriend, who is also her cousin, but she is successfully able to hide her pregnancy. Tupac explains that her family wouldn't care if she gave birth, as long as they got their cut of the government assistance.
Although she believes that her cousin (her baby's father) will stay with her and help her raise their child, he is merely a molester, and abandons her before she gives birth on the bathroom floor. She throws the baby into a trash bin but later retrieves it when she hears it crying. Her mother scolds her severely, and Brenda becomes so ashamed of herself that she runs away from home.
Brenda is now forced to live alone, and unsuccessfully seeks employment. Her attempt to sell crack cocaine results in robbery, and eventually she views prostitution as her only way to earn money and survive. This life path leads to her getting murdered. The fates of her parents, her cousin, and the baby are left unexplained. The song's final minute consists of a chorus singing "Don't you know she's got a baby?" repeatedly. The beginning of the song can be heard in The Game's song "Street Riders" 2Pac has another song which he made late in his career which deals with this same subject called "Mama's Just a Little Girl". The song can be found on his fourth posthumous studio album Better Dayz.
The video of the song is in black-and-white. It was made to visualize what Shakur narrates. The first part shows Shakur and "Brenda" and then the actual story starts. Ethel "Edy" Proctor portrays Brenda.
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 12-year-old girl getting pregnant by 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. Part of the video and song was played in 2Pac's biopic film, All Eyez on Me, released on June 16, 2017.
The video was directed by the Hughes brothers.
|US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)||7|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||23|