Balynda Eckley

Professor Ramos

English 1 B

12 April 2019

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Music is something that we all listen too. Music can be something calming or something that pump us up to get us ready for the day. One specific type of music hip hop this type of music goes as far back as the 1970s. The hip hop industry is a very big and successful  industry with its lyrics that can inspire and that can carry a certain message. Although we might all interpret these messages a little bit different hip hop is known for its rhyme and rhythm. One specific legend who created amazing lyrics that seemed to touch many people and many lives is Tupac Shakur.

Tupac was born in Harlem, New York to the name Lesane Parish Crooks but was later renamed  after a Peruvian revolutionary (Túpac Amaru II)  who was killed after leading the indigenous uprising against the Spanish rule. Tupac was known to be one of the greatest and most influential artist of his time. He was very philosophical and poetic when writing his lyrics one of his poems that shows what he has been through is a poem called “The Rose That Grew From Concrete.” He has not had it easy both his parents were part of the Black Panther Party in New York and most of the people around him  were in and out of prison. Tupac grew up in the streets of a poor neighborhood surrounded by gang violence and drugs but through his lyrics he talks about coming out of poverty. (“The Rose That Grew From Concrete”)

Tupac begins by asking “did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete” by asking this it shows that roses do not grow from concrete very often and it is something special when it does. Tupac is comparing himself to the rose and the concrete to his environment that held him back. He was trying to say that it was very hard to live and survive in such a hard environment and still make something of yourself. On the second line he writes “proving nature’s law wrong” he means the idea or thought that most people in the ghetto or bad areas do not succeed to the best of their ability, which naturally comes to mind when thinking of these types of areas. Tupac is saying that he proved this concept wrong and became successful. In that same line he writes “it learned to walk without having feet” Tupac is saying that he proved nature’s law wrong by becoming successful and he did it on his own with no help or “without having feet.” Tupac’s success was made from his own hard work and dedication because he lived in such a bad area. He did not have much support or feet below him to help him get through difficult situations and make it to the top.

In an interview about the lyrics for “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” Tupac talks about how a lot of people didn’t think that someone like him from the “ghetto” could rise up and become somebody. That if you walked by a rose that was growing in the concrete you would be amazed that something like that could defy nature. Even if its petals were a little distorted it was still amazing to see a rose grow from concrete. He saw himself as this rose even though his life full of gang violence and his family members in and out of prison. With people telling him the odds were against him. He was still able to rise up and become a successful hip hop artist. Tupac was undoubtedly a persistent young man. And he wasn’t going to allow no one to stop him from accomplishing his dreams and goals. He also wanted to show people that you could rise up and become successful and he wanted this for his people.  

According to William Baskerville and his colleagues ( Nanna Jürgens, Sofia Lord, Benjamin Overton) the ghetto is very hard to get out of. It is a place known for its poverty, drugs and gang violence. These are places where there is also a lot of teen pregnancies and when you have babies having babies they don’t finish their education. So it is very hard for them to get a decent job and be able to provide for their families.

In Tupac’s documentary “2Pac Thug Angel” Tupac saw a lot of discrimination and police brutality happening to him and in his town. He wanted to do something about it. So he would go around with cameras and film a lot of what was happening especially with the African American community. He wanted a change, he wanted to help people and create a change through his lyrics. He tried to reach the people in his community and anyone who would listen. This is one of the reasons that a lot of his lyrics when he writes has to do with police brutality, gang life and so many other things that he saw on the streets. This was his perspective and he was bringing it to light. A lot of things that were not being seen were being heard through his music. (Younger The Elder)

Tupac came from a long line revolutionaries who were fighting for social change. He talks about his African American community loving themselves not for the color of their skin but because they are Americans. Tupac not only saw the injustice that was going on in his black community but he saw that his own community was part of the cause here is something that he said in an interview “Because it’s the Black people that’s killing Black… It’s the Black that’s causing so much red to flow through the streets. It’s the Blacks that’s having teenage pregnancy problems. It’s the Blacks that’s on crack BIG TIME.” He was a  rebel with a cause fighting with his lyrics (Sire 26). Part of what Tupac is trying to say is that for the community to change people need to change. 

In spite of everything that Tupac had been through he wanted his community, his people to know that they can grow just as he did. Even if your pedals might be a little distorted but you can still prove nature wrong.  I think that in life a lot of us go through things that are very hard we do not think we can make it through and, so we blame other people instead of trying to find a solution. Tupac was really big on wanting to help people not just through his lyrics but also going out with cameras and trying to record the injustices that were going on, shows that he was an amazing person. That he really did care and he really wanted to make a change. For me his lyrics from “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” also shows that you might not be able to have a straight path through where you’re going but as long as you work hard and you stay focused you can make it. You can get where you’re trying to go. We all can be that rose.

Work Citied

Baskerville, William, Nanna Jürgens, Sofia Lord, Benjamin Overton. “In the Ghetto or Out of Society? A Review of the Debate Surrounding the “Ghetto Plan.” Humanity in Action. 2019. https://www.humanityinaction.org/knowledgebase/385-in-the-ghetto-or-out-of-society-a-review-of-the-debate-surrounding-the-ghetto-plan.

Sire 26. “The 1991 Tupac Shakur Interview That All Americans Need to Hear in 2017.” Medium. https://medium.com/@sire26/the-1991-tupac-shakur-interview-that-all-americans-need-to-hear-in-2017-847978de0fd6.

Stubbs. “The Rose that grew from Concrete.” YouTube, YouTube. May 29, 2009. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOCQd6VCQ8w&list=PLgcuZqp-GSsl4tQhr8CZqod7YXEQ8FShx&index=78&t=0s.

“The Rose That Grew From Concrete.” Genius. 2019. https://genius.com/2pac-the-rose-that-grew-from-concrete-lyrics.

Younger The Elder. “2Pac Thug Angel: The Life Of An Outlaw Full Documentary.” YouTube, YouTube. May 8, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlKJdbJtHdE&t=2646s.