Keep Ya Head Up

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"Keep Ya Head Up"
2Pac - Keep Ya Head Up.jpg
Single by 2Pac featuring Dave Hollister
from the album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z...
B-side "I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto
Rebel of the Underground"
Released October 28, 1993
Format 12"
Recorded 1992
Genre Hip hop, R&B
Length 4:23
Label Interscope
Songwriter(s) Tupac Shakur
Producer(s) DJ Daryl
2Pac featuring Dave Hollister singles chronology
"I Get Around"
"Keep Ya Head Up"
"Papa'z Song"
"I Get Around"
"Keep Ya Head Up"
"Papa'z Song"
Audio sample
Music video
"Keep Ya Head Up" on YouTube

"Keep Ya Head Up" is a 1993 hit single by 2Pac. The song features R&B singer Dave Hollister and is dedicated to black women and Latasha Harlins.

Production and release[edit]

The beat is sampled from Zapp's "Be Alright" and the chorus is taken from The Five Stairsteps' "O-o-h Child". 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.

Music video[edit]

The video opens up with the words "Dedicated to the memory of Latasha Harlins, it's still on", in reference to the 1992 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 he is seen holding a young child. His mother Afeni Shakur also appears in the video. Jada Pinkett Smith (then known as Jada Pinkett) made a cameo appearance in the music video.

The song was featured in the Tupac Biopic All Eyez On Me.

Critical reception[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Bruce Pollock United States The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 2005 *
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Songs That Shaped Rock 2011 * Top 100 Rap Songs 11
The Guardian UK 1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear 2009 *

Alyssa Rosenberg of Brisbane Times felt the song "weaved together a critique of negligent fathers, an argument for abortion rights and a sharp analysis of misogyny."[1]

Track listing[edit]

CDS - maxi single

  1. "Keep Ya Head Up" (LP Version)
  2. "Keep Ya Head Up" (Vibe Tribe Remix)
  3. "Keep Ya Head Up" (Madukey Remix)
  4. "Rebel of the Underground"
  5. "I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto"


Chart (1993) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 12
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[3] 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)


External links[edit]