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“Brenda’s Got a Baby”, Tupac


Much like the N.W.A, Tupac Shakur was committed to using his rap lyrics as a narrative to demonstrate the social injustices, immoral acts, and, social issues the government and media aimed to shield from sheltered communities. Ultimately he used his voice in Hip-Hop to encourage and produce Black Power. Even nineteen years after his murder, Tupac remains one of the most important and influential figures in rap music and Hip-Hop history.

2Pacalypse-Now-coverIn November 1991, when Tupac was only twenty-years-old he released his first solo album, “2pacalypse Now”. The tenth song featured on the album, “Brenda’s Got A Baby” became his first single. At this time, no male rapper had ever before narrated the problems young women were facing in poverty stricken communities, which makes the song such a powerful political statement. For the full lyrics refer to the bottom of the page.

Inspired by a tragic article from the New York Times, where a 12-year-old girl has given birth, as a result of many years suffering in poverty and alcohol/drug abusive homes.[1]

The narrative begins by introducing a young girl who’s pregnant and encounters a series of unfortunate events following the delivery. In doing this, Tupac attempts to illustrate the devastating and traumatic effects of poverty on young women. Through the lyrics, Tupac illustrates problems such as child molestation, prostitution, families taking advantages of families, and how an individual’s problems can affect an entire community. [2]

Through the lyrics, Tupac is attempting to explain that tragedies and cycles like this case are a common theme and have the ability to bring down everyone within the community. Brenda is symbolic of a problem that exists within every urban community in America, a problem that shouldn’t be ignored, but rather identified and solved.

The message and depiction of both the song and music video, created a lasting impact on not only the audience within these suffering communities, but those privileged on the outside. In using graphic lyrics, Tupac not only commended empathy, but he generated a voice powerful enough to raise social and political awareness.

While many appreciated Tupac’s music, the United States government and law enforcement officials found his messages controversial for associating power with violence.

In April 1992, a nineteen-year-old alleged crack dealer, Ronald Howard, shot a Texas trooper. When officers found “2pacalypse Now” in his tape deck, his attorney claimed the album incited him to do it. [3] After several different cases like this, the government made their opinion public when, Vice President Dan Quayle attacked Tupac’s music stating, “2pacalypse Now” has no place in our society”. [4]

Throughout his career, Tupac was known as a conscious rapper. Each of his songs had a purpose, which is why he often would use vivid imagery and deep lyrics. Though they caused political controversy, he wanted his audience to have the experience and feel the pain; the narratives were about the society for society.

“Brenda’s Got A Baby”, Tupac

Brenda’s got a Baby

Brenda’s got a Baby

I hear Brenda’s got a baby

But, Brenda’s barely got a brain

A damn shame

The girl can hardly spell her name

(That’s not our problem, that’s up to Brenda’s family)

Well let me show ya how it affects the whole community

Now Brenda really never knew her moms and her dad was a


Went in death to his arms, it’s sad

Cause I bet Brenda doesn’t even know

Just cause your in the ghetto doesn’t mean ya can’t grow

But oh, that’s a thought, my own revelation

Do whatever it takes to resist the temptation

Brenda got herself a boyfriend

Her boyfriend was her cousin, now lets watch the joy end

She tried to hide her pregnancy, from her family

Who didn’t really care to see, or give a damn if she

Went out and had a church of kids

As long as when the check came they got first dibs

Now Brenda’s belly is gettin bigger

But no one seems to notice any change in her figure

She’s 12 years old and she’s having a baby

In love with the molester, who’s sexing her crazy

And yet she thinks that he’ll be with her forever

And dreams of a world with the two of them are together,


He left her and she had the baby solo, she had it on the

bathroom floor

And didn’t know so, she didn’t know, what to throw away and

what to keep

She wrapped the baby up and threw him in the trash heep

I guess she thought she’d get away

Wouldn’t hear the cries

She didn’t realize

How much the little baby had her eyes

Now the baby’s in the trash heep balling

Momma can’t help her, but it hurts to hear her calling

Brenda wants to run away

Momma say, you makin’ me lose pay, the social workers here


Now Brenda’s gotta make her own way

Can’t go to her family, they won’t let her stay

No money no babysitter, she couldn’t keep a job

She tried to sell crack, but end up getting robbed

So now what’s next, there ain’t nothing left to sell

So she sees sex as a way of leaving hell

It’s paying the rent, so she really can’t complain

Prostitute, found slain, and Brenda’s her name, she’s got a baby


(don’t you know she’s got a baby) x5


[1] Chris Hedges. “A Child-Mother in the Jaws of New York” The New York Times (1991).

[2] “Tupac: The Socially Conscious Rapper”, S.W.E.R.V.E. Magazine, accessed April 10, 2015.

[3] Chuck Philips, “Rap Defense Doesn’t Stop Death Penatly: ‘The music affected me’, says Ronald Ray Howard. ‘That’s how it was that night I shot the trooper.’ The Los Angeles Times (1993).

[4] Yvonne Bynoe, Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop. (Greenwood Publishing: 2005).