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Analysis of The Famous Song "Dear Mama" by Tupac Shakur

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Hip-Hop was founded in the 1970’s by DJ Kool Herc. Hip-Hop is the heart and soul of poetry because the beat and sound power over the written classical poems. Also, the lyrics of the Hip-Hop evoke emotion through its meanings and purpose. Hello, teachers and students I am a fan of the genre Hip-Hop. I am a fan of this because I love its beats, rhythm and lyrics. I really think that Hip-Hop should be accepted in the Western Literary Canon, Due to its lyrics, beat and language features. Poetry from the original Canon, literature such as O Captain! My Captain! Is outdated and old in contrast to the new and popular Hip-Hop artists such as Tupac Shakur and Jay-Z. The song I have chosen is “Dear Mama”, by Tupac Shakur. Shakur. I believe it should be put in the Western Literary Canon due to the relevant social themes and deep meaning within the lyrics. This is due to the reverent social themes and the use of figurative language and deep meaning within the lyrical poem. I believe that Dear Mama should be accepted in the literary cannon because it has the same language features and literary devices like poems in the Western Literary Canon devices.

Tupac Shakur engages the audience through his songs such as “Dear Mama” and “Changes.” Tupac is rapping about how his mother raised him and how much she struggled. This song is a tribute to his mother Afeni Shakur. This song is about his life. In the lyrics it says “When I was young me and my mama had beef, Seventeen years old kicked out on the streets,” Is reflecting on the fights that he and his Mother had when he was seventeen. In the middle of stanza 1 it says “And who’d think in elementary? Hey! I see the penitentiary, one day,” which means that Tupac never thought he would end up in prison when he was young. The social message in this song is that Tupac and his mother (Afeni Shakur) didn’t get along well, when he got kicked out on the streets, he hung around thugs who sold drugs. Tupac even sold drugs so he could pay back his mum for raising him and his family on welfare. In the song he raps “I needed money of my own so I started slanging, I ain’t guilty cause, even though I sell rocks, It feels good putting money in your mailbox,” Tupac sold cocaine because he says “I aint guilty cause even though I sell rocks.

The main language features in this song is: Rhetorical questions, alliteration, assonance, repetition and rhyme. Tupac uses this technique only twice in his song Dear Mama in the line “And who’d think in elementary?” Which leads onto who would think in elementary about going to prison? Tupac never thought he would be locked up when he was younger, but he was wrong. The other rhetorical question is “Don’t you know I love you?” Which is a question for his Mother, as even though he was kicked out of his house when he was 17, he still wants the audience to know that he does love his Mum. The second language feature Tupac uses in his song is alliteration in many lines of the song a couple lines in song is “Suspended from school, and scared to go home, I was a fool” with the big boys, breakin all the rules.” Tupac uses alliteration in this song to draw attention to this certain part of the song. The third language feature in this song is assonance. The sound that is most repeated in this sound is ‘S’. Tupac uses this in most of his lines in his song such as ‘Suspended from school, and scared to go home, I was a fool’ and in the line ‘For a woman it ain’t easy trying to raise a man.’ Tupac probably uses the sound ‘S’ because is slides of the tongue easy and that is has the same sound as different words like: place, streets, backside and many other words. The fourth language feature that Tupac uses in this song is a repetition. He uses the lines “Lady, don’t you know we love ya? (Dear Mama) Sweet lady, place no one above ya (You are appreciated) Sweet lady, don’t you know we love ya?,” Tupac repeats this in honour of his Mum because she raised him and his step sister on welfare with no help from his Dad, as he ran away from the problem of raising kids. The fifth language feature in the song Dear Mama is rhyme. The songs rhyming scheme throughout the song its AA, BB, CC etc. This is shown in the first 6 lines of the song. The examples are:

  • When I was young me and my mama had beef
  • Seventeen years old kicked out on the streets
  • Though back at the time, I never thought I’d see her face
  • Ain’t a woman alive that could take my mama’s place
  • Suspended from school, and scared to go home, I was a fool
  • With the big boys, breaking all the rules

The comparison between my poem and the song chosen will support why Dear Mama should belong in the literary canon. The poem O’ Captain, My captain has some of the same language features same language features like rhyme, alteration and repetition. The evidence in that the poem rhymes is in line 1 and 2 where it says O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;. This is shown in the song also in line 1 and 2 where it says When I was young me and my mama had beef, Seventeen years old kicked out on the streets. The repetition in the poem is the line O’ captain my captain and the repeated lines in Dear Mama are “Lady, don’t you know we love ya? (Dear Mama), Sweet lady, place no one above ya (You are appreciated), Sweet lady, don’t you know we love ya?. They artists repeat these lines because they are important and also they are supposed make you remember what the artist is talking about. The alliteration in in the poem is the lines “flag is flung” and “safe and sound.” But in the song some examples of alliteration is “And mama made miracles every Thanksgiving” and “When I was young me and my mama had beef.”

In conclusion, the famous song “Dear Mama” by Tupac Shakur deserves to be in the Western Literary Canon. Tupac Shakur expresses his emotions and feelings very well throughout all his songs. Hip-Hop is this generations inspiration and pick me up compared to the 1900’s when poetry was fun and cool. Both poets and Hip-Hop artist express emotion which poem and song lyrics very similar. Therefore, I think Hip-Hop should be in the western literary canon.

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Analysis Of The Famous Song “Dear Mama” By Tupac Shakur. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from
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