[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: Tupac's “Dear Mama”
Background: “Dear Mama” is Tupac's most beloved song. It is considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time. It played in the background while God made love to the thunderbolt that birthed Tom Brady. It went to the Apple Store on Christmas Eve and got its iPhone fixed at the Genius Bar without having an appointment. It is, quite simply, amazing. And it totally sucks.
Atmospherics: Delicate. Sunburnt.
Scientific Analysis: This is a gorgeous song, sure. But this ain't the Why This Song Makes Me Feel All Gooey Inside column. This here, THISRAWBITCHHERE, is Why This Song Sucks, and it's rooted in reason and physics. Which is why we must point out that “Dear Mama” is fat with illogic like Dick Cheney is fat with fat.
“Dear Mama” is a vehicle for Tupac to pay homage to his mother, which is a reasonable enough premise. He even describes her as a “black queen.” Unfortunately, that's preceded by an admission that she was addicted to crack cocaine, which is pretty much the first thing they ask you when you apply to be queen, bro.
Get the fuck out of here. And, it unravels further from there. In addition to her rampant drug abuse, she was also a child abuser (“Mama catch me, put a whooping to my backside”) and, at one point, a prisoner of the state. (The video starts with Mama explaining how she was locked up while she was pregnant with Tupac). Ernestine Allen was selected as the 2011 recipient of the American Mothers' National Mother of the Year award. I scanned her bio. It listed none of Mama's aforementioned qualities. Matter of fact, it was pretty much the exact opposite. You know which mom mirrored Mama's qualities best? Halle Berry in Losing Isaiah, before she got clean. She didn't win any mothering awards. Sorry, 2pacalypse.
Tupac's logic fails in other ways as well. Such as when: (1) He asserts that it's okay to hang out with thugs who sell drugs, so long as they show you love; and (2) When he says: “I ain't guilty 'cause even though I sell rocks, it feels good putting money in your mailbox.” <-- Um, bro, mailboxes don't have shit to do with justice.
I will concede that this song is moving, and that counts for something. But within science's parameters, it is wobbly and offensive. I mean, Shaq pretty much destroyed everyone in the NBA from 2000 to 2002. We all still understand that that doesn't mean he was a technically sound basketball player. He was just a fuckin' tank with arms. Same thing here.
Two Bonus Screenshots From The Video:
Tupac was billed as a brilliant anarchist force, bred from the loins of a militant Black Panther to turn the world upside down on its head. And maybe you could argue that he nearly did that — at the very least, he helped restructure pop culture. As a child though, portrayed in this video, he looks to have been kind of dumb. I mean, you really thought the best place to hide your books while you ditched school was under a tree in your front yard, 'Pac? Like, for real, for real?
(I) Tom Brady's success was preordained by God and Tupac.
(II) Tupac's mother is neither greater than, nor equal to, Ernestine Allen. Where's her song? Maybe she should do some crack too?
(III) Should you be indicted on drug charges, do not attempt to exercise the Mailbox Statute as part of your legal defense.