Keep Ya Head Up
by 2Pac

Album: Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. (1993)
Charted: 12
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Songfacts®:

  • "Keep Ya Head Up" may be described as an ode to especially black women, and is dedicated to the memory of Latasha Harlins. It is also the antithesis of Ice Cube's angry and misconstrued "Black Korea."

    Latasha Harlins was a 15-year-old black girl who was shot dead in Los Angeles by Soon Ja Du, a Korean store owner. Du was in the front of the store while her husband was in the back. For whatever reason she thought the girl was trying to steal a bottle of orange juice; there was a short but violent altercation, and Harlins was shot in the back of the head.

    Du was convicted only of voluntary manslaughter, and was incredibly sentenced to only five years probation, 400 hours community service and a $500 fine. The case was heard between the beating of Rodney King and the acquittal of his assailants. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Du's store was burned to the ground in the riots that followed the second trial, and never reopened.
  • An interesting couplet in this song is

    They got money for war
    But can't feed the poor


    As Professor Quigley pointed out in his classic Tragedy & Hope... this is because wars are run not on money but on the correct marshaling of resources. The fact that they can be so marshaled for war but not to help those at the bottom of society speaks volumes, as clearly 2Pac recognized. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • The video was directed by Dave Dobkin, who would later direct the film Wedding Crashers.
  • Dave Hollister of the group Blackstreet is a featured vocalist on this track.
  • The groove is based on a sample from "Be Alright," a 1980 song by Zapp. It also interpolates the vocal hook of the 1970 Five Stairsteps hit "O-o-h Child."

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