Tupac Shakur is one of the most talented rappers of all time. He often said he was a poet and this is reflected the complex lyrics found in the majority of his songs. One of his most meaningful and poetic songs is "Dear Mama" from the album Me Against The World. Shakur wrote this song as a tribute to his mom and all moms around the world. The theme is appreciation and gratitude for all his mother did to make sure he had a good childhood. The song is honest, artistic, and heartfelt. In his lyrics, Shakur describes the hardships he faced as a child and how is mother always was his rock.
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 no woman alive who could take my mama's place
Suspended from school and scared to go home,
I was a fool with the big boys breakin' all the rules.
These few lines honestly reflect on how Shakur cause some trouble for his mom during his childhood. It talks about the temptations he faced and how even though his relationship with his mother was rocky at times, she always stuck with him. He reflects on how even though his mother was single and poor she always made sure he had everything he needed. The chorus of the song further reflects this tone.
Don't cha know we love ya? Sweet lady
Place no one above ya, sweet lady
You are appreciated
Don't cha know we love ya?
Tupac uses several poetic devices in this song but the most prominent one is repetition. The chorus repeats itself several times throughout the song and within the chorus he constantly repeats the phrases "dear mama" and "sweet lady". He also repeats the phrase "Theres no way I can pay you back, but my plan is to show you I understand. You are appreciated." I think he does this because he feels like he has no way to give his mother all she has given him. He feels that he can't thank his mother enough for all the work she has done and he is ashamed that he didn't realize it earlier.
Another poetic device Shakur uses is the metaphor:
And even as a crack fiend, mama
You always was a black queen, mama
Shakur uses this metaphor to show the listener how he though of his mom. He always saw her as a powerful queen who overcame any obstacle that came her way no matter how challenging. Although this assignment is only about lyrics, I think the music video for this song does a good job of showing Tupac's relationship with his mom. You can see it here.