2Pac’s “Ghetto Gospel” Lyrics Meaning
The gospel is a doctrine in the Bible which in its most basic form serves a philosophy by which religious devotees are supposed to conduct themselves. And these instructions, as we all know, were brought forth by a particular spiritual leader. In this case however, we have what is referred to as the “Ghetto Gospel”. This is likewise a doctrine based on a certain ideology which to some degree is spiritually-based. However, the figure who is presenting this “gospel” is Tupac Shakur, i.e. a prophet from the ghetto.
Or perhaps more specifically, he is putting this song from the point of view of a citizen of the ghetto, i.e. someone from the inner-city African-American community. So for example, he gives shoutouts to Civil Rights’ icons Malcolm X (1925-1965) and Bobby Hutton (1950-1968). He also laments over the poverty, drug addiction, lack of opportunity and other social ills he must bear witness to. Moreover he denounces racism and street violence in general.
Is 2Pac preaching in “Ghetto Gospel”?
No. Overall Tupac is not actually preaching. The rapper does not make an attempt to push any particular belief system nor compel people to “follow” him, despite the nature of the lyrics sampled into the chorus. Rather this song, specifically the second verse, operates more along the lines of the artist seeking his own divine salvation.
He considers himself a spiritual work of progress, whom God is still shaping into His own image. In fact Pac states that when he writes songs like this one, he lets a Higher Power influence him in terms of the lyrics he pens. And in the midst of making such assertions, he questions the ideologies which dominant religions are based on. For instance, Pac doesn’t consider himself “less holy” just because he enjoys smoking grass and drinking beer, which it should be noted are common practices amongst young men from the ghetto.
And ultimately the song ends on a similar note, with Tupac asking the “Lord” to “hear” him despite his shortcomings.
So conclusively, we can say that the “Ghetto Gospel” is a belief system tantamount to adherers, such as Shakur, striving for spiritual redemption and deliverance while simultaneously acknowledging that their lifestyles may not exemplify the standards for achieving such. And the insinuation is that said lifestyle is more a result of the environs he was brought up in, i.e. the “ghetto”, as opposed to his true personality.
Music Video of “Ghetto Gospel”
The music video to “Ghetto Gospel” featured professional actor J. D. Williams and Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur. FYI, Tupac himself doesn’t make any appearance in the clip.
Release Date of “Ghetto Gospel”
Interscope Records released “Ghetto Gospel” on the 25th of January 2005. The song was the second single from Tupac’s album “Loyal to the Game”, which came out almost a decade after he was murdered in 1996.
An Eminem Production
This track, which was produced by Eminem, famously features a sample of a song Elton John dropped back in 1971 entitled “Indian Sunset”.
As such, Sir John and his faithful lyrical partner, Bernie Taupin, are acknowledged as co-writers of this song. This is in addition to D. Evans, L. Resto, Eminem and of course Tupac himself.
“Ghetto Gospel” was a Success
“Ghetto Gospel” performed well internationally. It scored a number one on the UK Singles Chart as well as in Australia, the Czech Republic and Ireland.
Moreover it has been certified Platinum in Australia and the United Kingdom.
There is another unreleased version of “Ghetto Gospel” that predates this one. That version was produced by regular Tupac collaborator Big D (circa 1970-2015) and samples a 1989 Tracy Chapman track entitled “Crossroads”.