Poem Review: If I Fail by Tupac Shakur

If I Fail by Tupac Shakur

If in my quest 2 achieve my goals

I stumble or crumble and lose my soul

Those that knew me would easily co-sign

There was never a life as hard as mine

No father – no money – no chance and no guide

I only follow my voice inside

If it guides me wrong and I do not win

I’ll learn from mistakes and try 2 achieve again.

I love this poem by Tupac Shakur, because it teaches you an important lesson, that if at first you do not achieve you should try again, and that even those that face the most adversities should never give up on trying to achieve. It’s a power and deep meaning from Tupac.

His poem follows AABB rhyming scheme, and is using full rhyme to end each line, except for lines seven and eight, they are not a full rhyme but slant rhyme, because they sound different, but the last two letters are the same, including one vowel.

Tupac studied many great poets in his time and loved applying his knowledge of techniques to his works, be it lyrics or poetry.  He was a fan of the 4-beat line, the iambic structure, and so in much of his poetry and lyrics for songs like ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ and ‘Changes’ he uses iambic structures.  This poem follows that same structure, and it appears to me to follow the structure of iambic tetrameter, with four stresses to each line, except line six.

The use of language here is a mixture of his background, an upbringing on the streets of Los Angeles, and so he brings that street slang to the poem, along with using words for deeper meaning, like ‘co-sign’. There are no metaphors here, he says what he means and means what he says.

It is only one stanza, with eight meticulously constructed lines. It reads fast, and with no punctuation, each complete in its own right.


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