The poem The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur represents the ways in which one can become great despite being brought up in a harsh environment. In this poem, Tupac uses a rose, a flower recognized as beautiful even with its imperfections. Roses are a symbol of beauty and love, even though one must be cautious around them because of their thorns. The rose grew from concrete, surroundings hard and without nourishment, which people walked all over and failed to appreciate its existence. The rose represents people and how beautiful, unique, and worthy of love they are, in spite of their flaws.  The concrete symbolizes the ghetto, or any environment perceived as a place from which nothing good or worthwhile emerges.

This poem represents Tupac’s life in the way that he came from a place that seemed forgotten by society, a place that no one really cared about, a place that seemed to perpetuate a dysfunctional cycle and failed to love and nourish those that came from it. Tupac was the rose that came from this place. A rose needs nourishment and care to grow, and a person needs the same things. The fact that he could still prosper, be beautiful despite his imperfections, and not simply become a product of his environment, speaks volumes. 

While Tupac was alive, people doubted him and wrote him off as just a thug with nothing to offer the world. The media referred to him as a thug because of where he came from and pushed the narrative that he was unable to be a role model for kids. However, when in the line, “Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned to walk without having feet” Tupac validates the fact that even though society has guidelines for what greatness looks like and comes from, one can always prove the doubters wrong by learning to persevere through hardships of where you come from and thriving, not merely surviving. You can become everything that they said you wouldn’t, just never quit trying.

“Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams it learned 2 breathe fresh air” In this particular part of the poem, Tupac emphasizes that you have to follow your dreams in everything that you do. Tupac was big on following your dreams and believed that no one could ever take them away. One of my favorite quotes of his is “reality is wrong, dreams are for real.” This line expresses that this rose learned to live in this world by just never losing sight of its dreams. By following his dreams, Tupac learned to live and inspired many others to do the same.

Even though Tupac wasn’t perfect, he was a magnificent, beautiful human being whose influence reaches to this day. Through this poem, he wanted people not to focus on his flaws, but on the fact that he was beautiful in his own way because he defeated the expectations of society. He was able to become something amazing and grow into a successful, loving, and inspirational Black man despite his upbringing in the ghetto, a harsh environment that lacked love and support and was difficult to grow in. Although Tupac came from a place that many people can’t seem to break out of, in his short life he was able to achieve greatness beyond measure in spite of the cards he was dealt in his early life. Thus, he wanted everyone to understand that despite his flaws and despite his damaged petals, by keeping his dreams alive he was able to flourish, and so can you.





Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.
-Tupac Shakur