Little somethin’ for my godson Elijah and a little girl named Corinne

Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice

I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots

I give a holler to my sisters on welfare

Tupac cares, if don’t nobody else care

And uh, I know they like to beat ya down a lot

When you come around the block brothas clown a lot

But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up

Forgive but don’t forget, girl keep your head up

And when he tells you you ain’t nuttin’ don’t believe him

And if he can’t learn to love you, you should leave him

‘Cause sista you don’t need him

And I ain’t tryin’ to gas ya up, I just call ’em how I see ’em

You know it makes me unhappy (What’s that)

When brothas make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy

And since we all came from a woman

Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman

I wonder why we take from our women

Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?

I think it’s time to kill for our women

Time to heal our women, be real to our women

And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies

That will hate the ladies, that make the babies

And since a man can’t make one

He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one

So will the real men get up

I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up

 

Keep ya head up, ooh, child, things are gonna get easier

Keep ya head up, ooh, child, things’ll get brighter

 

Keep ya head up, ooh, child, things are gonna get easier

Keep ya head up, ooh, child, things’ll get brighter

 

Aiyyo, I remember Marvin Gaye, used to sing to me

He had me feelin’ like black was tha thing to be

And suddenly tha ghetto didn’t seem so tough

And though we had it rough, we always had enough

I huffed and puffed about my curfew and broke the rules

Ran with the local crew, and had a smoke or two

And I realize momma really paid the price

She nearly gave her life, to raise me right

And all I had to give her was my pipe dream

Of how I’d rock the mic, and make it to tha bright screen

I’m tryin’ to make a dollar out of fifteen cents

It’s hard to be legit and still pay your rent

And in the end it seems I’m headin’ for tha pen

I try and find my friends, but they’re blowin’ in the wind

Last night my buddy lost his whole family

It’s gonna take the man in me to conquer this insanity

It seems tha rain’ll never let up

I try to keep my head up, and still keep from gettin’ wet up

You know it’s funny when it rains it pours

They got money for wars, but can’t feed the poor

Said it ain’t no hope for the youth and the truth is

It ain’t no hope for tha future

And then they wonder why we crazy

I blame my mother, for turning my brother into a crack baby

We ain’t meant to survive, ’cause it’s a setup

And even though you’re fed up

Huh, ya got to keep your head up

 

Keep ya head up, ooh, child, things are gonna get easier

Keep ya head up, ooh, child, things’ll get brighter

 

Keep ya head up, ooh, child, things are gonna get easier

Keep ya head up, ooh, child, things’ll get brighter

 

And uh

To all the ladies havin’ babies on they own

I know it’s kinda rough and you’re feelin’ all alone

Daddy’s long gone and he left you by ya lonesome

Thank the Lord for my kids, even if nobody else want ’em

‘Cause I think we can make it, in fact, I’m sure

And if you fall, stand tall and comeback for more

‘Cause ain’t nothin’ worse than when your son

Wants to kno’ why his daddy don’t love him no mo’

You can’t complain you was dealt this

Hell of a hand without a man, feelin’ helpless

Because there’s too many things for you to deal with

Dying inside, but outside you’re looking fearless

While the tears, is rollin’ down your cheeks

Ya steady hopin’ things don’t all down this week

‘Cause if it did, you couldn’t take it, and don’t blame me

I was given this world I didn’t make it

And now my son’s gettin’ older and older and cold

From havin’ the world on his shoulders

While the rich kids is drivin’ Benz

I’m still tryin’ to hold on to my survivin’ friends

And it’s crazy, it seems it’ll never let up, but

Please, you got to keep your head up

 

Songwriters: Darryl Anderson / Tupac Amaru Shakur / Roger Troutman / Stan Vincent

Keep Ya Head Up lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, A Side Music LLC D/B/A Modern Works Music Publishing

Why this song?

This classic is one of my favorites: it calls out the government for perpetuating poverty, addresses inequality and mistreatment of women and children of color and also spreads positivity and encouragement. Tupac dedicated the song to Latasha Harlins, a 15 year-old woman who was shot and killed in Los Angeles. Her death and the shooter’s lenient sentencing is said to have started the 1992 LA riots. - Rachael

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