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10 Greatest Tupac Shakur Songs That'll Forever Rule the Rap World

Komal B. Patil May 13, 2019
Tupac Shakur is a legend in the genre of hip-hop and rap for his amazing talent. He was a versatile artist with a charisma that made him stand out from the crowd. Years after his death, his work continues to be hugely popular among people across the globe. Here are the 10 best Tupac Shakur songs of all time.
"I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world."
Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur (June 16, 1971 - September 13, 1996) born as Lesane Parish Crooks―also known as 2Pac―was an American rapper and actor. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling rap/hip-hop artist ever, having sold over 75 million albums worldwide, including 44.5 million sales in the United States alone.
2Pac rapped on every topic―good and bad, war and friendship, life and death. If it was worth discussing, he rapped about it. He was never scared to speak up. His fearlessness and resilience kept him at the top from his debut as a rap artist to long after his death in 1996. Till date, he continues to reign supreme.

Here's a look at his top 10 greatest songs.

California Love (1995)

This song sung by 2Pac, featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman, celebrates the hip-hop lifestyle of California. Tupac and Dre rap about all the creativity and activity occurring around them. They also mention, with pride, about the gang violence, crimes, and social ailments that prevail.
★ The song was nominated for a posthumous Grammy Award as a Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1997. It has two platinum certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
This song also received gold certifications each from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

How Do U Want It (1996)

It was performed by Tupac Shakur and featured R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo. The song includes a diss of gangsta rap critic C. Delores Tucker. The song focuses mainly on the perks and problems associated with fame. While thoroughly enjoying the benefits, 2Pac reminds everyone of all the problems fame brings along with it.
★ The song was nominated at the 1997 Grammy Awards for the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. It has two platinum certifications from RIAA, and a gold certification from ARIA.

Ghetto Gospel (2005)

This song was written by Tupac Shakur as an outcry, speaking about the futility of racial discrimination and dissidence. Through his lyrics, he pays homage to the murdered activists Malcolm X and Bobby Hutton. He also talks about how society views people from the "hood".

★ This song is platinum certified by ARIA, and also has two gold certifications.

Dear Mama (1995)

Tupac wrote this song as a tribute to his mother, Afeni Shakur, detailing his childhood poverty and his mother's addiction to crack cocaine. He claims that his love and respect for his mother overwrites the bad memories.
In 2010, it was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress, as it was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflects life in the United States."
This song has affected and had an impact on numerous rappers, such as Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. It was lauded as an unofficial Mother's Day anthem.

★ The song was certified platinum by RIAA.

Changes (1998)

This song possesses a rare dual quality of not only being a commercial success, but also a vessel of social upliftment. It mentions the Black Panther Party, the war on drugs, the treatment meted out to the black people by the police, and the troubles of life in the ghetto.
★ It was nominated at the MTV Video Music Award for Best Editing in a Video & Best Rap Video in 1999. In 2000, it was nominated for the Best Rap Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards, and was the only posthumous song to be nominated in the category. It has five gold certifications.

Keep Ya Head Up (1993)

This song, featuring R&B singer Dave Hollister, is dedicated to Latasha Harlins (a 15-year-old girl who was wrongfully shot and killed) and other women. The song cries out to the society for better treatment of women by men.
It also calls to women, children, and poor people of color to stay strong and persevere (keep ya head up) through the tough times that inevitably will arise in a society. He also touches on the topic of rape, saying that men have no right on where and when women should have sex or children.

★ This song was gold certified by RIAA.

Runnin' (Dying to Live), (2002)

This song was a collaboration between Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. This song is centered around running from the police, and includes the two artists talking about their angry rows with the law, the feuds they've had, and how it has affected them.
★ This song won the Top Soundtrack Song of the Year award at the 2005 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards. It also received a gold certification from ARIA.

Do For Love (1998)

This song is all about the strength of love and how it can lead you blind. Through the song, he conveys that no matter how much he was thwarted by love, he chose to keep seeking it, and to never give up trying. He chooses to follow love, even if it leads him blind.

★ This song was certified gold by RIAA.

Smile (1997)

This song was produced by Scarface, featuring 2Pac and R&B singer Johnny P. It shed light on Shakur's inner thoughts, his beliefs, and life's lessons he had learned.
He was killed soon after having worked on this song, and hence, it has been called his posthumous good-bye letter to the world.

★ This song was certified gold by RIAA, and was the first Scarface song to achieve a certification.

Brenda's Got a Baby (1991)

This song was Tupac's debut single, which narrates the story of a 12-year-old girl, who accidentally conceives and is unequipped and unable to raise the child. It revolves around Brenda's struggle with pregnancy, love, and prostitution. It is said to have been based on a true story.

Other Popular Songs by Tupac Shakur

★ Hail Mary
Hold On Be Strong
Me Against The World
Hit 'Em Up
How Long Will They Mourn Me?
Life Goes On
All Out
Until the End of Time
Letter to My Unborn Child
Lord Knows
When Thugz Cry
So Many Tears
★ Only God Can Judge Me
★ My Block
★ Old School
★ Temptations
★ God Bless The Dead
★ Unconditional Love
★ Trapped
★ I Get Around
★ Playa Cardz Right
★ Thugz Mansion
★ I Ain't Mad At Cha
★ Ambitionz Az A Ridah
★ Only God Can Judge Me
★ If I Die Tonight
His flummoxing mixture of thug, revolutionary, and the like, has forever altered our idea of what a rapper should look, sound, and act like. To date, no other rapper has captured the world's attention the way Tupac did, and he continues to do so even years after his death.