2Pac – Keep Ya Head Up


Keep Ya Head Up” is a song by American rapper Tupac Shakur from his second studio album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z…(1993). It was released on October 28, 1993 as the album’s third single.


The song features R&B singer Dave Hollister and is dedicated to Shakur’s godson Elijah, and Corin, daughter of Salt from Salt-N-Pepa — the two had met through Treach of Naughty by Nature. The song focuses on black womanhood. Additionally, it makes reference to Latasha Harlins, who was shot by a Korean shopkeeper in 1991, increasing tensions between the Black and Korean communities of Los Angeles before the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The music video for the song opens up with the words “Dedicated to the memory of Latasha Harlins, it’s still on.” Further, the song calls out Marvin Gaye, who “had [Shakur] feeling like black was the thing to be.”

Production and release

The beat is sampled from Zapp‘s “Be Alright” and the chorus is taken from The Five Stairsteps‘ “O-o-h Child“. It was first released in Shakur’s 1993 album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. later appearing after his death in 1998 in his Greatest Hits compilation. A “sequel” to the song, “Baby Don’t Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II)” was released on 2Pac’s posthumous album Still I Rise in 1999. The song was featured in the Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me.

Music video

The video has a basic format with Shakur rapping in the middle of a circle surrounded by a crowd of people and in some scenes he is seen holding a young child. His mother Afeni Shakur and close friend Jada Pinkett Smith made cameo appearances in the video.

Critical reception