Although Tupac Shakur led a tragically short life, history remembers him as one of the greatest musicians of all time. From his memorable singles to his more thought-provoking statements, we’ve collected 119 Tupac quotes in honor of the rap legend.
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Tupac, in Short
Born Lesane Parish Crooks, Tupac Amaru Shakur, or simply 2Pac, was an American rapper and activist who shaped a generation of fans through music.
A native New Yorker, Tupac Shakur relocated to Baltimore and later San Francisco, where his career took off. He lived during a time of intense social turmoil and spoke openly about his experiences as an inner-city youth. Before achieving fame, he advocated for racial equality, exploring racism, drugs, and violence in his music, poetry, and filmography.
His distinguished legacy is often conflated with his troubled personal life. He was involved in several hip hop feuds, which may have led to his fatal drive-by shooting. Shakur died about a week after being shot on September 13, 1996, at 25.
As one of the most influential figures from the 90s, Shakur continues to generate praise and debate. He was an outspoken individual, charismatic if sometimes contradictory in his views.
While some of his greatest projects remain unrealized, Tupac Sahkuar lives on in the hearts of millions.
If you’d like to remember this monolith of a man, we’ve compiled a list of the most amazing Tupac quotes about love, life, faith, and more.
13 of Tupac Shakur’s Most Famous Quotes
Tupac Shakur was unapologetically fierce, both off and on the stage. His profound lyricism won him several accolades, while his unfiltered opinions on social issues connected with millions of his generation.
He had a lot to say, and the world remembers him with these 13 iconic Tupac quotes:
1. “Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.”
2. “Even the genius asks questions.”
3. “Our future is our confidence and self-esteem.”
4. “I want to grow. I want to be better. You grow. We all grow. We’re made to grow. You either evolve, or you disappear.”
5. “My mama always used to tell me, ‘If you can’t find somethin’ to live for, you best find somethin’ to die for.”
6. “I don’t see myself being special; I just see myself having more responsibilities than the next man. People look to me to do things for them, to have answers.”
7. “What people do for the struggle of power is madness.”
8. “All I’m trying to do is survive and make good out of the dirty, nasty, unbelievable lifestyle that they gave me.”
9. “I’m not perfect, but I’ll always be real.”
10. “No matter what these people say about me, my music doesn’t glorify any image. My music is spiritual when you listen to it. It’s all about emotion; I tell my innermost, darkest secrets.”
11. “I am not a perfectionist, but still I seek perfection. I am not a great romantic, but yet I yearn for affection.”
12. “It’s time for us as a people to start making some changes. Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we treat each other.”
13. “I’m 23 years old. I might just be my mother’s child, but in all Reality, I’m everybody’s child. Nobody raised me; I was raised in this society.”
15 Tupac Quotes About Love
Whereas his earlier music was introspective and emotional, Tupac Shakur’s later work had notable tonal shifts that continue to be hotly debated by critics and fans alike.
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Even so, if there was one thing Shakur is appreciated for, it was his sense of unity.
Here are our top 15 Tupac quotes on the subject:
14. “It takes skill to be real. Time to heal each other.”
15. “Fear is stronger than love, remember that. Fear is stronger than love. All that love I gave didn’t mean nothing when it came to fear.”
16. “I am a hard person to love, but when I love, I love really hard.”
17. “I have no fear, I have no m*th*f*ck*n fear, I have only ambition. I want mine, and I will do anything to feed and protect my family.”
18. “Time to heal our women, be real to our women.”
19. “There’s no way I could pay you back, but my plan is to show you that I understand, you are appreciated.”
20. “I said, I’m gonna write a song about the women like my mom, women like my sister, who I think represent the strong black women, and I did that. Now I’mma write about the women I see everyday and that was ‘I Get Around.’ If I just write songs like ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ it would make me seem more than what I am, but I’m just a normal man.”
21. “With all my fans, I got a family again.”
22. “You can never ‘just be friends’ with someone you fall in love with.”
23. “Always falling too deep in a relationship, always end up being the one that’s hurt the most.”
24. “Ain’t a woman alive that can take my momma’s place.”
25. “Unconditional love. Talking ‘bout the stuff that don’t wear off, it don’t fade. It’ll last for all these crazy days, these crazy nights. Whether you wrong or you right, I’mma still love you, still feel you, still there for you. No matter what, you will always be in my heart with unconditional love.”
26. “Forgive but don’t forget, girl keep your head up. And when he tells you you ain’t nothing, don’t believe him. And if he can’t learn to love you, you should leave him.”
27. “Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.”
28. “I’m not saying girls are perfect ‘cause we all know that’s not true. But why be unfaithful to her if she was true to you?”
11 Tupac Quotes About Friends and Loyalty
Alongside friend-turned-rival, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur was the face of the East Coast-West Coast hip hop feud. These experiences translated into his music, where he expressed both deep friendship and animosity to those around him.
We’ve gathered 11 of the most soul-gripping Tupac quotes about trust and loyalty in hip hop:
29. “Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers.”
30. “If you let a person talk long enough you’ll hear their true intentions! Listen twice, speak once.”
31. “Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back. It simply means that you are two steps ahead.”
32. “Sometimes, when I’m alone, I cry, ‘cause I am on my own. The tears I cry are bitter and warm. They flow with life, but take no form. I cry because my heart is torn. I find it difficult to carry on. If I had an ear to confide in, I would cry among my treasured friends, but who do you know that stops that long, to help another carry on?”
33. “Just because you lost me as a friend doesn’t mean you gained me as an enemy. I’m bigger than that. I still wanna see you eat, just not at my table.”
34. “I was letting people dictate who should be my friends. I felt like I couldn’t be friends with Madonna. And so I dissed her, even though she showed me nothing but love. I felt bad because when I went to jail, I called her and she was the only person that was willing to help me.”
35. “The realest people don’t have a lot of friends.”
36. “I just don’t know how to deal with so many people giving me that much affection. I never had that in my life.”
37. “I don’t want to be a role model. I just want to be someone who says, this is who I am, this is what I do, I say what’s on my mind.”
38. “I’m going to show people my true intentions and my true heart. I’m going to show them the man that my mother raised, and I’m going to make them all proud.”
20 Tupac Quotes About Life
Rapper, wordsmith, actor—Tupac Shakur was a wise man who had a lot to say about life’s challenges. He often discussed his upbringing and shared his personal struggles with fans, many of his songs being autobiographical.
We took a page out of our favorite Dalai Lama quotes to give you 20 philosophical Tupac quotes:
39. “Don’t believe everything you hear. Real eyes, realize, real lies.”
40. “It’s a struggle for every young Black man. You know how it is, only God can judge us.”
41. “It’s the game of life. Do I win or do I lose? One day, they’re gonna shut the game down. I gotta have as much fun and go around the board as many times as I can before it’s my turn to leave.”
42. “My life was lived through falling rain, so call on me if there be pain.”
43. “Life is a wheel of fortune and it’s my turn to spin it.”
44. “A coward dies a thousand deaths. A soldier dies but once.”
45. “During your life, never stop dreaming. No one can take away your dreams.”
46. “No one knows my struggle, they only see the trouble. Not knowing how hard it is to carry on when no one loves you.”
47. “The seed must grow regardless of the fact that it’s planted in stone.”
48. “I worked hard all my life, as far as this music business. I dreamed of the day when I could go to New York and feel comfortable and they could come out here and be comfortable.”
49. “17 is such a weird age. It’s such a—and the middle age, you’re not 18 yet, and you’re older than 16. It’s like a learning stage for me.”
50. “It seems like every time you come up, something happens to bring you back down.”
51. “The world moves fast and it would rather pass by than to stop and see what makes you cry.”
52. “It seems the rain’ll never let up. I try to keep my head up and still keep from gettin’ wet up.”
53. “Behind every sweet smile, there is a bitter sadness that no one can see and feel.”
54. “If you grew up happy—too happy—I don’t think that prepares you for the world.”
55. “What I learned in jail is that I can’t change. I can’t live a different lifestyle – this is it. This is the life that they gave and this is the life that I made.”
56 “If you could walk a mile in my shoes, you’d be crazy too.”
57. “Everybody’s at war with different things. I’m at war with my own heart sometimes.”
58. “Everything in life is not all beautiful, not all fun. There is lots of killing and drugs. To me, a perfect album talks about the hard stuff and the fun and caring stuff.”
19 Powerful Tupac Quotes to Boost Motivation
It’s a well-known fact that Tupac Shakur led a difficult life. He lived in poverty before achieving commercial success and was briefly involved in crime before meeting Lelia Steinberg. Steinberg would later become his first manager, kickstarting his career as a musician.
For times when you feel beaten down by life, here are 19 Tupac quotes to “keep ya head up”:
59. “People die, but legends live forever.”
60. “Here’s a message to the newborns, waiting to breathe—if you believe, then you can achieve. Just look at me.”
61. “I got a big mouth, I can’t help it. I talk from my heart, I’m real.”
62. “I would rather be stricken blind than to live without expression of mind.”
63. “Do everything you can to make it around the system, over the system, or out the system.”
64. “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”
65. “Why am I fighting to live, if I am just living to fight? Why am I trying to see, when there ain’t nothing in sight? So, why am I trying to give, when no one gives me a try? Why am I dying to live, if I am just living to die?”
66. “Driven by my ambitions, desire higher positions.”
67. “I exist in the depths of solitude pondering my true goal. Trying to find peace of mind and still preserve my soul.”
68. “Should I just stop trying and give up? But then, that’s exactly what they’re waiting for me to do.”
69. “I want to learn from my mistakes.”
70. “Everybody against me. Why? Why me? I have not brought violence to you, and I have not brought ‘Thug Life’ to America. I didn’t create ‘Thug Life.’ I diagnosed it.”
71. “There’s nobody in the business strong enough to scare me.”
72. “If I was white, I would be like John Wayne. I feel like a tragic hero in a Shakespeare play. Somebody who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, from poverty.”
73.“The fake get in where they fit in, the real stand strong where they belong.”
74. “This fast life soon shatters, ‘cause after all the lights and screams, nothing but my dreams matter.”
75. “The only thing that can kill me is death, that’s the only thing that can ever stop me, is death, and even then my music will live forever.”
76. “I’m not trying to make people think I’m in here faking it, but my whole life is going to be about saving somebody.”
77. “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”
14 Inspiring Tupac Quotes to Get You Through Hard Times
Tupac Shakur liked to encourage his fans through his music. His own rise to fame can also serve as inspiration, showing us that no matter the path we’re on, big dreamers like Shakur can change the world
We’ve collected the following Tupac quotes to help inspire you when times feel the toughest!
78. “We can never go nowhere unless we share with each other.”
79. “Don’t leave this world without giving it your all.”
80. “Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?”
81. “Tomorrow, I wake with second wind and strong because of pride. I know I fought with all my heart to keep the dream alive.”
82. “There’s gonna be some stuff you gonna see that’s gonna make it hard to smile in the future, but through whatever you see, through all the rain and the pain you gotta keep your sense of humor. You gotta be able to smile through all this bullshit. Remember that.”
83. “That which does not kill me can only make me stronger.”
84. “If you can make it through the night, there’s a brighter day.”
85. “‘Cause I think we can make it, in fact, I’m sure. And if you fall, stand tall and come back for more.”
86. “Everything will be alright if you hold on. It’s a struggle every day, gotta roll on.”
87. “So no matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep ya head up, and handle it.”
88. “You know nothing can stop me but loss of breath, and I’m still breathing, so it’s still on.”
89. “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive. Never surrender.”
90. “You gotta learn to hold your own.”
91. “Hip Hop was supposed to be this new thing that had no boundaries and was so different to everyday music. As long as it has soul to it, hip hop can live on.”.
13 Tupac Quotes About Faith
In addition to philosophizing about life, Tupac Sahkuar occasionally explored faith in his work. Some songs alluded to his strong personal beliefs, whereas others carry more symbolic meaning than overt religious metaphors.
Whether you are a Tupac Shakur fan or now, the following thought-provoking Tupac quotes are going to give you pause for quiet reflection.
92. “Even warriors put their spears down on Sundays.”
93. “For quiet times disappear; listen to the ocean.”
94. “I know it seems hard sometimes but remember one thing. Through every dark night, there’s a bright day after that.”
95. “You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened, or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the f*ck on.”
96. “Never surrender, it’s all about the faith you got. Don’t ever stop, just push it ‘till you hit the top. And if you drop, at least you know you gave your all to be true to you, that way you can never fail.”
97. “Imperfection is inherited. Therefore, we all sin. But fighting the war of sin is the greatest war of all.”
98. “When I was alone and had nothing, I asked for a friend to help me bear the pain. No one came, except God. When I needed a breath to rise from my sleep, no one could help me, except God. When all I saw was sadness and I needed answers, no one heard me, except God. So when I’m asked who I give my unconditional love to? I look for no other name, except God.”
99. “I shall not fear man but God, though I walk through the valley of death.”
100. “You gotta make a change. You see, the old way wasn’t working, so it’s on us to do what we gotta do to survive.”
101. “Look to my future, ‘cause my past is all behind me.”
102. “I set goals, take control, drink out my own bottle. I make mistakes but learn from every one. And when it’s said and done, I bet this brother be a better one. If I upset you don’t stress; never forget that God isn’t finished with me yet.”
103. “Be grateful for blessings.”
104. “Somebody help me, tell me where to go from here cause even thugs cry, but do the Lord care?”
15 Tupac Quotes About the Importance of Change
Shakur was a major advocate for equality in the 90s. He never shied away from the spotlight and often used his platform to speak out against the injustices faced by African Americans.
Today, modern audiences seek to learn from Tupac Shaker by studying his impact on social justice.
Here are 15 of the best-remembered Tupac quotes and lyrics discussing change and equality:
105. “What we really want to do is get the pride back in the black community. I feel like if you can’t respect yourself, then you can’t respect one’s race, and then you can’t respect another’s race.”
106. “I don’t have no fear of death. My only fear is coming back reincarnated.”
107. “I think I’m a natural-born leader. I know how to bow down to authority if it’s authority that I respect.”
108. “I think that we deserve a lot of respect, because you know in the ’60s, they changed a lot. And those teenagers were given respect, because they changed a lot, and they did a lot. We’re givin’ no respect and we have to do a lot, I mean the world—no secret, but the world is in bad shape. So, we have to do a lot of good things. So, I think we deserve a little bit more respect.”
109. “We shouldn’t be angry and my raps that I’m rapping to my community shouldn’t be filled with rage? They shouldn’t be filled with the same atrocities that they gave to me? In the media, they don’t talk about it. So in my raps, I have to talk about it.”
110. “And did you ever stop to think that I’m old enough to go to war, but I ain’t old enough to drink.”
111. “Why can’t the President take some of those people off the street and put them in his White House? Then he’ll have people from the street to help him with his ideas. They haven’t been homeless forever; they’ve done things for society.”
112. “If they take half the buildings that they use to praise God and give it to the m*th*rf*ck*rs who need God, we’d be ‘aight.”
113. “If we’re all saying that rap is an art form, then we gotta be more responsible for our lyrics. If you see everybody dying because of what you’re saying, it don’t matter that you didn’t make them die, it just matters that you didn’t save them.”
114. “You know, I was steering people away from school. You gotta be in school, because through school you can get a job. And if you got a job, then that’s how they can’t do us like this.”
115. “This is a big question and no one’s been able to answer it and this is staggering. How can President Reagan live in the White House, which has a lot of rooms, and there be homelessness? And he’s talking about helping the homeless.”
116. “To all the seeds that follow me protect your essence, born with less, but you still precious.”
117. “I am a society’s child. This is how they made me and now I’m sayin’ what’s on my mind and they don’t want that. This is what you made me, America.”
118. “I’m a reflection of the community.”
119. “They got money for the war, but can’t feed the poor.”
Final Thoughts: Remembering Tupac Shakur
It’s been well over two decades since his death, however, still few rap artists can hold up to Shakur’s talent and influence.
His legacy has led to numerous documentaries, biographies, films, and, perhaps most famously, conspiracy theories. Whether you truly believe 2Pac is alive or not, there’s no debating the profound impact he had on the world.
What’s your favorite Tupac quote? How did his music influence your life?
We’d love to hear more in the comments below!