Readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.
So, as our retrospective segments, ‘From the Vault’ and ‘TGJ Replay,’ allow us the chance to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday of one artist, our newest feature Chart Rewind serves as a variation of our Retro Rewind assay to salute an entire era of music history.
This week, we salute one of music’s most memorable homages to moms – Tupac Shakur‘s 1995 hit, ‘Dear Mama.’
By late 1994, Tupac Shakur‘s popularity had not only been hoisted by the success of his sophomore album, the Platinum ‘Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.,’ but also his increased public profile hinged on a number of highly publicized legal woes (see: arrest for sexual assault, non-fatal shooting, other assault convictions).
Having won over fans with the social commentary housed in ‘Strictly,’ expectations were high for its follow-up. To answer the challenge, the rapper assembled a series of tracks critics would later call his most ‘introspective’ yet – a move that shifted the lens from the world around him to his own life. Reflecting on his legal battles, troubled upbringing, and more, the tunes compiled made up his third album christened ‘Me Against the World.’
Kicked off by the deeply personal ‘Dear Mama,’ the February 9, 1995-released song served as an ode to his mother – Afeni Shakur – whose storied life was filled with chapters of activism with the Black Panther Party, battling crack addiction, alcohol abuse, and poverty while raising him. The two may have had a falling out in the years before his successful Rap career, but their reconciliation served as muse for the track.
Less than a week after dropping the single, however, he began serving a prison sentence for sexual assault. Though unable to promote in the traditional. manner, the publicity – alongside the tune’s sensitive subject matter – would only serve Shakur in the long run. After its March-released parent album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 with the highest first week sales for a Rap artist at the time, ‘Mama’ followed in April by cracking the top 10 of the Hot 100 (landing at #9 where it was found this week in 1995). It was the first time he’d ever done so.
Hot 100 This Week in 1995
After making history as the first artist to top the Billboard 200 while serving a prison sentence, 2Pac watched ‘Mama’ go Platinum from behind bars. Also earning recognition from the Recording Academy, the song scored a ‘Best Rap Solo’ GRAMMY nod at the 1996 ceremony.
When the dust settled, the ‘Sadie’-sampled cut was marked as one of music history’s most memorable odes to mom. Its parent album, ‘World,’ later crossed the 3X Platinum threshold.
Hot 100 This Week
Click here to see this week’s full ‘TGJ Chart Check.’