Brenda’s Got A Baby was Tupac Shakur’s debut solo single taken from his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now. Released October 20th 1991, Brenda’s Got A Baby, produced by Deon Evans, features Dave Hollister providing the background vocals. According to Deon Evans, Tupac also came up with the chorus, “Don’t you know she’s got, don’t you know she’s got a baby.” The track peaked on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart at number seven. Furthermore, on May 9th 1992, it also appeared at number 23 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Tupac was certainly a pioneer in raising issues around poverty and racism in the form of his music and lyrics. The inspiration for the track came from a New York Times article which Tupac read one day while filming Juice.
To begin with, we find out that Brenda, a 12-year old girl, becomes pregnant by her cousin. With a father a junkie and no relationship with her mother, consequently, she finds herself not knowing where to turn. Meanwhile, she has the baby all alone on the bathroom floor and she wraps her new-born up and abandons baby in the dumpster.
From there, Brenda ostracized even more from her family, has nowhere to go and no money, after selling her belongings. As a result, she turns to prostitution for money to help her out of her hell. But despite all of her efforts, finally at the end of the song, the listener learns of a slain prostitute and Brenda was her name.
Speaking Up For His Community
In addition to this powerful and touching song, Tupac clearly illustrates the devastating effects of poverty, abuse and prostitution. Furthermore, Tupac used Brenda to demonstrate and to emphasize these issues that existed in most urban communities. In fact, this was a first for a solo artist to highlight the important issues that generally mainstream America was ignoring, which previously was never spoke about.
Unquestionably, throughout the album that Brenda’s Got A Baby is from, 2pacalypse Now, Tupac gave the oppressed a voice. In fact, the US government found his messages controversial and downplayed the issues that he spoke about that clearly stems from the social conditions as a result of the government turning a blind eye. Therefore, as a result, instead of acknowledging the issues, the then Vice President Dan Quayle stated 2pacalypse Now had no place in society. However, in spite of his comments, due to Tupac speaking up, it made the fans want to hear what he had to say even more.
The music video for Brenda’s Got A Baby, directed by Albert and Allen Hughes, was filmed in January 1992 in black-and-white. While doing this with the added lyrical content it certainly gave an even more powerful visual experience for the viewer. Most noteworthy, Ethel Love plays the lead role of Brenda. Additionally, rapper The Gov plays the guy who pulls out the gun on Brenda.
Where Is Brenda Now?
The young girl who plays Brenda in the video is Ethel Love. A recent photo of Ethel Love can be seen below.
Reaction To Brenda’s Got A Baby
Deon Evans – Producer
“Pac was a genius, his mindset was different from a lot of other people. With the song, he wanted to make a statement and get his point across.”
“Shortly after he released the album with “Brenda’s Got A Baby,” Tupac started getting letters from women who were in that same situation. I will never forget how he expressed to me that he actually wanted to go out and make a personal visit to each of these women who had written a letter to him. I thought that was pretty special.”
“I got his first album, 2Pacalypse Now. I saw the video for Brenda’s Got A Baby and I remember thinking, ‘holy s***!’. His spirit spoke to me.”
Omar starred alongside Tupac in Juice and was with him in the trailer when he read the New York Times article.
“We had the newspapers and we were talking. Someone had thrown their baby in the trash, which was kind of common in New York. He was so rattled by it, the whole day kept bringing it up. At lunchtime he was like, ‘O come into the trailer’ and he starts rapping this song to me. Then two or three months later his album comes out and I see the video and I’m like, ‘that’s the joint he was writing’. I just thought that was incredible, that’s real-life art.”
Brenda’s Got A Baby Lyrics
I hear Brenda’s got a baby
But, Brenda’s barely got a brain
A damn shame, the girl can hardly spell her name
(That’s not our problem, that’s up to Brenda’s family)
Well let me show ya how it affects the whole community
Now Brenda really never knew her moms and her dad was a
Junky, went in death to his arms, it’s sad ’cause I bet
Brenda doesn’t even know
Just ’cause your in the ghetto doesn’t mean you can’t grow (you can’t grow)
But oh, that’s a thought, my own revelation
Do whatever it takes to resist the temptation
Brenda got herself a boyfriend
Her boyfriend was her cousin, now let’s watch the joy end
She tried to hide her pregnancy, from her family
Who didn’t really care to see, or give a damn if she
Went out and had a church of kids
As long as when the check came they got first dibs
Now Brenda’s belly is gettin’ bigger
But no one seems to notice any change in her figure
She’s 12 years old and she’s having a baby
In love with the molester, who’s sexing her crazy
And yet she thinks that he’ll be with her forever
And dreams of a world with the two of them are together,
Whatever, he left her and she had the baby solo
She had it on the bathroom floor and didn’t know so
She didn’t know, what to throw away and what to keep she
wrapped the baby up and threw him in the trash heap
I guess she thought she’d get away, wouldn’t hear the cries
She didn’t realize
How much the the little baby had her eyes
Now the baby’s in the trash heep balling
Momma can’t help her, but it hurts to hear her calling
Brenda wants to run away
Momma say, you makin’ me lose pay
The social workers here everyday
Now Brenda’s gotta make her own way
Can’t go to her family, they won’t let her stay
No money no babysitter, she couldn’t keep a job
She tried to sell crack, but end up getting robbed
So now what’s next, there ain’t nothing left to sell
So she sees sex as a way of leaving hell
It’s paying the rent, so she really can’t complain
Prostitute, found slain, and Brenda’s her name, she’s got a baby
|US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)||7|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs ( Billboard)||23|