Twenty years after his death, we are still hearing unearthed 2 Pac songs. The latest is the original version of his 1995 hit “Dear Mama.”
Just in time for Mother’s Day, 2 Pac associate DJ King Assassin, who was present for much of recording of the Me Against The World album, released the audio today. The release come just days after the passing of ‘Pac’s mother Afeni Shakur, to whom the song was dedicated.
“Dear Mama” was released as the first single from Me Against The World, during a time where 2 Pac saw his image tarnished from going to jail on sexual assault charges, on top of being shot five times outside of Quad Studios in New York City just one day before he was sentenced.
In a statement to Ambrosia For Heads, DJ King Assassin offered details about the original version:
“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.”
Posthumous 2 Pac music has become a normality since he died in 1996. Afeni Shakur is credited for applying at least some control over what has been released and how it is presented. A lawyer for Shakur assured fans that the Tupac estate is in good hands with co-executor Tom Whalley who shared responsibility for the materials with Afeni up until her death earlier this week.