Tupac’s Original Version Of “Dear Mama” Emerges & It Features A Sample Of Yo-Yo On The Chorus (Audio)
In 1995, Tupac Shakur would release what may be the most definitive song of his career in “Dear Mama.” Appearing on the #1, multi-platinum Me Against The World album, the Tony Pizarro-produced first single countered the Shakur portrayed in the media. While the Thug Life front-man was in prison for felony sexual assault (which he vehemently denied throughout his life), this Top 10 video single emerged to show Tupac’s tender side towards women, but also the most important woman in his life: his mother Afeni. She received the gift, and even introduced the song in the video single version.
“Dear Mama” followed singles like 1991’s “Brenda’s Got A Baby” (Shakur’s first 2Pacalypse Now look) and 1993’s “Keep Ya Head Up,” which went to #12 on the charts. Now emerged in conflict with Rap peers, a changing industry, and the legal system, the MC turned to his rock, and painted un-blurred gratitude. Just as Shakur put his mother on a pedestal, he was unafraid to point out her flaws, while acknowledging his own.
On Monday night (May 2), Afeni Shakur died at her home in Northern California. Approaching Mothers Day Weekend, one of ‘Pac’s earliest collaborators, DJ King Assassin, has released audio of the original demo version of “Dear Mama.” Apparently, the song took shape long before Shakur’s legal battles and public image surrounding women had been called into question. To Hip-Hop Heads, the song features a sample of Ice Cube protege Yo-Yo, who was a then-star on EastWest Records in the early 1990s.
King Assassin (who was present for much of the Me Against The World recordings) shares the record today, explaining the following: “The original version of ‘Dear Mama’ was far different than the version that was released, as far as the hook was constructed. Originally, the hook was a sample of a song from the legendary rapper and friend of both of ours named Yo-Yo, from Ice Cube’s [Da] Lench Mob. The sample was ‘Wouldn’t be a damn thang without a woman,’ which was taken from the original song from Ice Cube’s ‘This Is A Man’s World,’ with the scratching done, of course, by yours truly DJ King Assassin. The day after we had finished up on everything we were in Echo Sound in L.A. when Tupac comes in the studio very upset and proceeds to explain to us that we had to take out Yo-Yo’s part because a person by the name of Pat Charbonet would not give us the clearance to use that part in the song, so we had no choice but to take it out and that’s where even the Richard Pryor excerpt, which you will hear, is completely off the released version of the song.”
He also spoke on the song this week on TMZ Live, revealing he had been in communication with Afeni Shakur recently. He is currently working on a Makaveli film surrounding Tupac Shakur’s life.