In light of Mother’s Day, 2Pac’s longtime friend DJ King Assassin released a gem from his unheard stash to honor the late Afeni Shakur. The death of Pac’s mother still stings the hip-hop community after she suddenly passed away earlier this week. King Assassin, who served as Pac’s official DJ in the ’90s, released the audio of the original demo version of “Dear Mama” along with details of the song’s backstory.
Assassin explains the major differences between the OG version and the single that first appeared on 2Pac’s 1995 album Me Against The World. Yo-Yo, who was down with Ice Cube’s crew Da Lench Mob at the time, was originally featured on the memorable hook.
“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,” Assassin explained. 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.”
According to Assassin, Yo-Yo was replaced after Pac failed to get her sample cleared. An excerpt from Richard Pryor was also cut from the final record.
“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.”
Listen to the OG version of “Dear Mama” below. RIP Afeni Shakur.