Edited by Azizi Powell
This post showcase the 1993 Hip-Hop song "Keep Ya Head Up" by Tupac (2Pac).
In my presentation of this song, I particularly focus on the meaning of the line "tryin to make a dollar out of 15 cents". That line is part of a floating verse that is included in certain English language playground rhymes. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/07/examples-of-anti-asian-references-in.html for a post about those rhymes.
The content of this post is presented for cultural, inspirational, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
DISCLAIMER: While I believe that most of 2Pac's "Keep Ya Head Up" is positive, I don't agree with all of that song's lyrics.
SHOWCASE VIDEO: 2Pac - Keep Ya Head Up
bgjoker, Uploaded on Feb 12, 2006
WARNING: The viewer comment thread of this video may contain profanity and sexually explicit or sexually suggestive comments that aren't suitable for children.
Furthermore, another song by Tupac also includes the line "tryin to make a dollar outta 15 cents". There also is a Hip-Hop song by another artist which has that line as its title.
Unlike most of the "Keep Ya Head Up" lyrics, I consider the lyrics of both of those songs to be inappropriate for children in part because of their sexual references/inferences.
LYRICS - KEEP YA HEAD UP
Little somethin for my godson Elijah and a little girl named Corinne
Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots
I give a holler to my sisters on welfare
Tupac cares, and don't nobody else care
And uhh, I know they like to beat ya down a lot
When you come around the block brothas clown a lot
But please don't cry, dry your eyes, never let up
Forgive but don't forget, girl keep your head up
And when he tells you you ain't nuttin don't believe him
And if he can't learn to love you you should leave him
Cause sista you don't need him
And I ain't tryin to gas ya up, I just call em how I see em
You know it makes me unhappy (what's that)
When brothas make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy
And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it's time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don't we'll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can't make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you're fed up ladies, but keep your head up
Keep ya head up, oooo child things are gonna get easier
ooooo child things are gonna get brighter [2x]
Aiyyo, I remember Marvin Gaye, used to sing ta me
He had me feelin like black was tha thing to be
And suddenly tha ghetto didn't seem so tough
And though we had it rough, we always had enough
I huffed and puffed about my curfew and broke the rules
Ran with the local crew, and had a smoke or two
And I realize momma really paid the price
She nearly gave her life, to raise me right
And all I had ta give her was my pipe dream
Of how I'd rock the mic, and make it to tha bright screen
I'm tryin to make a dollar out of fifteen cents
It's hard to be legit and still pay tha rent
And in the end it seems I'm headin for tha pen
I try and find my friends, but they're blowin in the wind
Last night my buddy lost his whole family
It's gonna take the man in me to conquer this insanity
It seems tha rain'll never let up
I try to keep my head up, and still keep from gettin wet up
You know it's funny when it rains it pours
They got money for wars, but can't feed the poor
Say there ain't no hope for the youth and the truth is
it ain't no hope for tha future
And then they wonder why we crazy
I blame my mother, for turning my brother into a crack baby
We ain't meant to survive, cause it's a setup
And even though you're fed up
Huh, ya got to keep your head up
To all the ladies havin babies on they own
I know it's kinda rough and you're feelin all alone
Daddy's long gone and he left you by ya lonesome
Thank the Lord for my kids, even if nobody else want em
Cause I think we can make it, in fact, I'm sure
And if you fall, stand tall and comeback for more
Cause ain't nuttin worse than when your son
wants to kno why his daddy don't love him no mo'
You can't complain you was dealt this
hell of a hand without a man, feelin helpless
Because there's too many things for you to deal with
Dying inside, but outside you're looking fearless
While tears, is rollin down your cheeks
Ya steady hopin things don't all down this week
Cause if it did, you couldn't take it, and don't blame me
I was given this world I didn't make it
And now my son's getten older and older and cold
From havin the world on his shoulders
While the rich kids is drivin Benz
I'm still tryin to hold on to my survivin friends
And it's crazy, it seems it'll never let up, but
please... you got to keep your head up
INFORMATION ABOUT "KEEP YA HEAD UP"
"Keep Ya Head Up" is a 1993 hit single by Tupac Shakur. The video features Dave Hollister and is dedicated to Latasha Harlins*...
"The beat is sampled from Zapp & Roger's "Be Alright" and the chorus is sampled from The Five Stairsteps' "O-o-h Child", but originally it was sampled from Big Daddy Kane's "Prince of Darkness"... A "sequel" to the song, Baby Don't Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II) was released in 2Pac's posthumous album Still I Rise in 1999."...
*Latasha Harlins (July 14, 1975 – March 16, 1991) was a 15-year-old African-American girl who was unlawfully shot and killed by Soon Ja Du), a 51-year-old Korean store owner.
WHAT "TRYIN TO MAKE A DOLLAR OUT OF 15 CENTS" MEANS IN HIP-HOP SONGS
In Tupac's song "Keep Ya Head Up", I believe that the line "tryin to make a dollar out of 15 cents, refers to "stretching" what little money a person has so that it can might go further. In the video of this song that is embedded in this post, the scene at 2:19 when those words are voiced shows a mother sitted at the kitchen table trying to figure out which bills to pay with the little money she has. That scene serves as confirmation of the "stretching money" could mean finding some way that the little money you have could be used to pay more of your bills.
However, http://rapgenius.com/2pac-keep-ya-head-up-lyrics#note-30059 indicates that "tryin to make a dollar out of 15 cents" is "A popular phrase in rap music for get-rich schemes (even used as the title of a Master P song), usually illegal, and almost always referring to selling crack cocaine."
Comments posted to a yahoo question & answer page about the meaning of this line in Tupac's songs http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090126191145AAKUFun give the same two meanings -"making something out of nothing" (what I call "stretching your money" or "having to do with selling drugs i.e. nickel bags and dime bags of weed or other drugs."
It seems to me that the point isn't whether or not "tryin to make a dollar out of 15 cents" means "stretching money", but how that "dollar" is stretched - whether a person uses legal or illegal means to do so.
In the song "Keep Ya Head" up, 2Pac (Tupac) says
"I'm tryin to make a dollar out of fifteen cents
It's hard to be legit and still pay tha rent"
And in another 2Pac (Tupac) song whose title I choose not to give because this is a family centered blog & I don't consider that song to be suitable for children, that rapper says
"I'm just another black man caught up in the mix
Trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents"
Hopefully, fewer people will decide to take the "illegit" road to stretching their dollars, as that road really doesn't have any good outcomes.
Thanks to Tupac for composing and performing "Keep Ya Head Up". Thanks also to those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of videos which are featured in this post.
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