The news of Afeni Shakur's passing had many fans going back to Tupac's ode to his mother, "Dear Mama" to remember how important she was to her son. Now, a few days after Afeni's death, the original version of the classic track has surfaced online. This version predates the track that eventually became a hip hop classic.
DJ Assassin wrote a note to fans on ambrosiaforheads.com to give more insight in the song. "The original version of 'Dear Mama' was far different than the version that was released, as far as the hook was constructed," he wrote. "Originally, the hook was a sample of a song from the legendary rapper and friend of both of ours named Yo-Yo, from Ice Cube's [Da] Lench Mob. The sample was 'Wouldn’t be a damn thang without a woman,' which was taken from the original song from Ice Cube's 'This Is A Man’s World,' with the scratching done, of course, by yours truly DJ King Assassin."
DJ Assassin went on to explain that the vocals were removed due to sample clearance issues. "The day after we had finished up on everything we were in Echo Sound in L.A. when Tupac comes in the studio very upset and proceeds to explain to us that we had to take out Yo-Yo's part because a person by the name of Pat Charbonet would not give us the clearance to use that part in the song, so we had no choice but to take it out and that's where even the Richard Pryor excerpt, which you will hear, is completely off the released version of the song."
The resulting track is one of the most powerful odes to women of all time, and it's a special treat to hear it the way Pac originally envisioned.
Watch Marc Lamont Hill's commentary on Afeni's passing with What's At Stake, above.
(Photos from left: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images, SPLASHNEWS PHOTO/Mario Anzuoni)