Classics English Literature

Ghetto Gospel by Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur was born in New York on June 16, 1971. His mother was in jail where Tupac was given birth. His father was Malcom X’s bodyguard. Tupac passed on, on September 13, 1996 from serious gunshots in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tupac was not only popular for his music he was also an adored actor with a number of films. The song, “Ghetto Gospel” by Tupac Shakur is one of his lyrically heartrending songs. The song addresses the senselessness of racial disparity and dissidence under the amalgamating sign of unity. Like in most of his songs, the meaning of his songs is found in a few of its verses. Tupacs’ lyrics were based on political and social issues including brutality, drug misuse, teenage pregnancy and wrecked families. His poetry mirrored his many sides of life and others were incited by love (Ardis &Shakur, 2004). In other incidences, Tupac did poetry trying to understand him better and others mirrored the nasty injustices of America. In his song “Ghetto Gospel”, Tupac, who was popular for his poetry made use of elements of poetry to come up with the intriguing lyrics of the song, “Ghetto Gospel”.

A poem can be depicted as a composition that tracks a specific flow of rhythm and meter. A poem may not have an account but a prearranged approach in writing. There are several elements of poetry, which include rhythm, meter, rhyme, alliteration, simile metaphor, symbolism and theme (Kreuzer, 1955). In his lyrics, Tupac utilized most of the elements accordingly. In “Ghetto Gospel”, Tupac was trying to bring out the hardships that people living in shantytowns of America faced. He emphasized in his song that despite the fact that people were facing such hard ships no one deserved them. In his lyrics in the first stanza, it is clear that his message is meant for the young people.

The element of rhythm was clearly utilized in the lyrics. The words that he used in his lyrics fit right, for instance, in the first stanza the first and the second line Tupac wrote that if he could recall before his hood days he would sit in ecstasy and remember on the good days. If these words are read a loud, they sound right. He linked the statements of the poem in a manner that when sung, the listeners of his music could hear his music well and interpret its meaning more vividly. From these lines, it can be interpreted that Tupac is praising his Ghetto life that he once lived. He refers his times in Ghetto as good days. If rhythm is well applied in any form of lyrics, it makes ones song more intriguing than ever.

In his lyrics, Tupac tried to rhyme his syllables even though this element was not widely used. In some stanzas, the last words of each line match with each other. For instance, in his second part of his lyrics, the last words are similar like discouraged, courage, one and every one. These are some of the examples of words, which produced similar sounds. In his lyrics, Tupac ensured that he rhymed most of his words to enhance the rhythm of his song. Rhythm is very crucial in any form of music for it gives the audience an outline of the type of the song. If the rhythm is not well structured, it means that the song will not be appealing to the audience.

Meter is the basic structural form of a poem. It implies that the syllables of the song should match with each other. All poems are collected lines passing on a single filament of thought. Tupac in his first stanza is trying to pass a message about the youth. He gives clear information to the audience by making use of symbols, which are almost similar. For instance, he writes that the youth are being blamed for they were born in a time when things have changed. He concludes his line by writing that it is a shame. The words that he used in these two lines sound almost similar. They include, change, blame and shame. These three letters rhyme so well enhancing the rhythm of his song. He ensured that his rhythm was well created at some point in his poem where he was targeting a certain age group. This is made clear to the audience that his song is al about the youth. He passes his message vividly by using the poetry element meter.


Tupac used similes in the lyrics of the song, “Ghetto Gospel”. Simile is an approach of contrast using words, like and as. He used the similes to give a full explanation on his feelings. Similes help the artist to express his feelings clearly to the audience. This is where he compares his feelings to something, which is easier to be understood by the audience. Tupac in his second stanza compared the ghetto Grannys to books. He wrote that, “And Ghetto Grannys are like books” (2Pac Lyrics). Tupac expressed his feelings for the ghetto Grannys clearly to the audience. He was passing the message that any information that a person needed could be got from the Grannys.

When he says that they were like books, he meant that they could be used for reference on different issues. The audience understands better the ghetto Grannys from the way he described them. Tupac used a simile in his second part of his poetry. He compares the live of the Americans to animals in cages. He wrote that, “And be like animals in cages”. This sentence is self-explanatory to the audience. It is clear that the Americans lived like slave with no freedom. This is the reason why from his poem, it can be drawn that the young generation is being despised for opposing the idea of slavery and they were fighting for liberty. In poetry, use of similes is quite important for it gives a solution to he audience who find difficulties in understanding the hidden meaning of a poem (Kreuzer, 1955). It brings out the theme of the poem.

Symbolism puts across the ideas and thoughts of the artist using symbols. Tupac embraced the use of symbols widely. For instance, in his lyrics, he wrote that he did wanted to see hell later but not at his present. The symbol meant that he did not wish to die before he accomplished his mission in life. He did not pass his message directly to his audience. Symbols are essential in a poem for they do not give a reader a methodical and prearranged way of looking at things. They are used by the poets to create an effect to the reader in understanding what the poet really meant. Tupac did not give his audience a direct message. They were left to find out what his song entailed.

The theme of the poem is racism where most of the black Americans lived in the ghettos of America. In his song, Tupac based his argument on the young generation, which is opposing the kind of life that the less fortunate Americans led. The less fortunate people, the largest number being the black Americans lived in these shantytowns. From his poem, it is clear that life in these towns was quite hard with people facing so many difficulties. In his poem, Tupac has explained that life was cheaper than the rest of America where food and housing was cheaper (Ardis & Shakur). The life in Ghetto was filled with social crime. Tupac being one of the persons who were brought up in the Ghetto explains his difficulties in his life. The ghetto is filled with crime and war. To get away from the reality, people end up being drunkards. Tupac wrote that he enjoyed spending his time with his friends taking alcohol and puffing. This is a clear indication that most of the people in Ghetto spend most of their idle tine drinking and at times taking drugs.

In conclusion, it can be drawn that Tupac Shakur used the basic elements of poetry to come up with a song, which was meant to be appealing to his audience. His lyrics were well structured giving the audience a vivid and a clear picture of his work. Tupac passed his message clearly and effectively to his audience simply because the elements that are found in his poem were well applied. His message about the ghetto life and the life that was led by the less fortunate Americans was well understood by the audience. In his poem, the audience could grasp the kind of life that Tupac led in his early days. He compares the life that is led by the youth to the life that he once led.

Works Cited.

Kreuzer, James R., Elements of poetry, Boston, MA: Macmillan, 1955. Print.

2Pac Lyrics, Ghetto Gospel (feat, Elton John).

Ardis, Angela & Shakur, Tupac, Inside a thug’s heart: with original poems and letters by Tupac Shakur, Bronx, NY: Dafina Books, 2004. Print.




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