‘Don’t blame me’: 10 Tupac quotes to get you through the working day

Jerry Foxhoven was fired from his job at Iowas social services agency after quoting Tupac too much. Here are some of the rappers best lines to use at work

What role should the late, great rapper Tupac Shakur play in the day-to-day life of a public servant? Its a question 66-year-old Jerry Foxhoven, until recently the director of Iowas social services agency, might have mixed feelings about.

Foxhoven was ousted from his post in June the day after sending an email containing Tupac lyrics to employees of the Iowa Department of Human Services. For those in the know, this wasnt an uncommon occurrence. A renowned Tupac superfan, Foxhoven was known for sending emails to his colleagues that included lyrics from Tupacs songs and for hosting listening parties dubbed Tupac Fridays in his office. He even celebrated his 65th birthday with thug life frosted cookies. Its just that this time, the email went to all 4,300 staff.

While it might seem incongruous for a white bureaucrat in his 60s to stan the 90s hip-hop legend, a closer look at Tupacs work reveals a social poet whose work is remarkably compatible with the everyday office grind. Here are 10 lyrics and quotes from his oeuvre that wont hopefully get you fired.


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1. How long will they mourn me?

How Long Will They Mourn Me?

It seems not long at all in Foxhovens case, but who hasnt wondered aloud to colleagues, often and insecurely, about your intra-office legacy? No? OK. Me neither.

2. Theres no way I can pay you back / But the plan is to show you that I understand / You are appreciated

Dear Mama

Tupac was talking about his mother, but this line works equally well for managers who are unable or unwilling to offer above-minimum wage increases to their staff.

3. Picture me inside the misery of poverty / No man alive has ever witnessed struggles I survived

Thugz Mansion

A helpful negotiating counter to the above.

4. Lets change the way we eat / Lets change the way we live / And lets change the way we treat each other



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Changes is perhaps Tupacs most elegant track. A profound critique of race relations in the US, and a stirring indictment of injustice. It also sort of sounds like an HR manager talking about the new ergonomic chairs and hot-desking system.

5. Dont blame me / I was given this world I didnt make it

Keep Ya Head Up

Useful for failed projects, missed deadlines, basically anything for which youre trying to shed responsibility.

6. Just got the message youve been calling all week / Been out here hustling on these streets, aint had a chance to speak

Unconditional Love

Tupacs answer to sorry I missed you, Ive been tied up in meetings.

7. Our future is our confidence and self-esteem

In this quote from a 1996 interview, Tupacs belief that your own self-worth will be societys measure of your value sounds weirdly like the heading of a Powerpoint presentation about meeting KPIs.

8. The seed must grow regardless of the fact that its planted in stone

The Rose that Grew from Concrete

Tupac emerged from a difficult upbringing through the Digital Underground an American alternative hip-hop outfit from Oakland, California and, like this line, much of his oeuvre relates to making something from nothing.

Also good for convincing the intern to take on a project you know has no way of succeeding.

9. Please dont cry, dry your eyes, never let up / Forgive, but dont forget, girl, keep ya head up

Keep Ya Head Up

Tupac went through several tumultuous chapters in his personal life; prison, gun violence (obviously) and that time a teenage Rashida Jones dissed him in an open letter published in the Source. Through it all, though, his lyrics never wavered on calling out social injustices and reframing them as life lessons for other black youth.

This line, in which he exhorts his audience to persist through dark times, is also useful when awkwardly encountering a colleague crying in the stairwell.

10. Theyve got money for war but cant feed the poor

Keep Ya Head Up


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Extremely deep. Perfect for Christmas parties.

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