It’s been 21 years since we lost arguably one of hip-hop’s most influential talents. Tupac Amaru Shakur was more than a rapper; he was a revolutionary.

The rapper, entertainer, actor, activist and poet did not allow himself to be defined by limits. That’s why, to this day, his artistry is both emulated and used as inspiration.

This past June, Tupac would’ve celebrated his 46th birthday, and in honor of his legacy past, present and future, here are five love lessons learned from his music.

1. We must have compassion for our fellow man—”Brenda’s Got a Baby”

Often, we can become too wrapped up in tending to our own lawns to recognize when our neighbor’s weeds are the reason why we have a few. This classic joint reminds us all of how important it is to “love thy neighbor” and operate as a community.

I hear Brenda’s got a baby
But Brenda’s barely got a brain
A damn shame, the girl can hardly spell her name
(That’s not our problem, that’s up to Brenda’s family)
Well let me show ya how it affects the whole community
Now Brenda really never knew her moms and her dad was a
Junky, went in death to his arms, it’s sad ’cause I bet
Brenda doesn’t even know

Just ’cause you’re in the ghetto doesn’t mean you can’t grow (you can’t grow)
But oh, that’s a thought, my own revelation
Do whatever it takes to resist the temptation
Brenda got herself a boyfriend
Her boyfriend was her cousin, now let’s watch the joy end
She tried to hide her pregnancy, from her family
Who didn’t really care to see, or give a damn if she
Went out and had a church of kids
As long as when the check came they got first dibs

2. Sometimes love changes—”Do For Love”

Usually, the first few months of a relationship are blissful. But sometimes, you know that you shouldn’t be with a certain someone, no matter how dope things may be. “Do For Love” tells the tale of love gone sour and details a person’s inner battle and attempt to break free.

I shoulda seen you was trouble right from the start
Taught me so many lessons
How not to mess with broken hearts, so many questions
When this began we was the perfect match, perhaps
We had some problems but we workin at it, and now

The arguments are gettin’ loud, I wanna stay
But I can’t help from walkin’ out just a little way
Just take my hand and understand, if you could see
I never planned to be a man it just wasn’t me
But now I’m searchin’ for commitment, in other arms
I wanna shelter you from harm, don’t be alarmed
Your attitude was the cause, you got me stressin’
Soon as I open up the door with your jealous questions

Like where can I be you’re killin’ me with your jealousy
Now my ambition’s to be free
I can’t breathe, cause soon as I leave, it’s like a trap
I hear you callin’ me to come back, I’m a sucka for love

3. To know when the love isn’t there”—Who Do You Love?”

Tupac rapped about the gangsta life, but he did so from the introspective lens of how the players in the streets perceived the world they lived in. You can feel love when it’s there, and you can feel love when it’s absent. The heart is very intuitive, and “Who Do You Love?” reminds us that sometimes, guarding it is the best remedy against pain.

I’m livin’ that thug life, baby
Steady smoking endo, going crazy
Baby, come and hug me
When you rub me, turn the lights down
We in the dark, do you love me

Everybody is talking ’bout they know me
But they ain’t down like my motherf*cking homies
Tell me what you need when you see me
And we can get it on, b*atch, take it easy

Don’t try to hold me, control me
But you can take my number, baby, call me when you lonely
‘Cause it’s a mans world, ain’t no need to ask why
I’m high till I die and strapped with my 4-5

4, Foreplay is essential—”How Do U Want It?”

Seduction starts way before you hit the sheets. Tupac’s “How Do U Want It?” lays out the foundation for it to take place before you say hello.

Love the way you activate your hips and push your ass out
Got a n**ga wantin’ it so bad I’m ’bout to pass out
Wanna dig you, and I can’t even lie about it
Baby just alleviate your clothes, time to fly up out it
Catch you at a club, oh sh*t you got me fiendin’
Body talkin’ sh*t to me but I can’t comprehend the meaning

Now if you wanna roll with me, then here’s your chance
Doin eighty on the freeway, police catch me if you can
Forgive me I’m a rider, still I’m just a simple man
All I want is money, f*ck the fame I’m a simple man
Mr. International, playa with the passport
Just like Aladdin b*tch, get you anything you ask for

It’s either him or me, champagne, Hennessy
A favorite of my homies when we floss, on our enemies
Witness as we creep to a low speed, peep what a h*e need
Puff some mo’ weed, funk, ya don’t need
Approachin’ hoochies with a passion, been a long day
But I’ve been driven by attraction in a strong way
Your body is bangin’ baby I love it when you flaunt it
Time to give it to daddy n*gga now tell me how you want it (Tell me how you want it)

Warning: Video contains explicit language and content.

5. Deep down inside, we all wish for someone to love us limitlessly— “Unconditional Love”

Although people are quick to say that true love is unconditional, life teaches us that love does have its limits, to a degree. If someone mistreats us, we will usually end the relationship because it is toxic. That goes for any type of connection. While we may still love them, we won’t love them the same. But in Tupac’s track “Unconditional Love,” the rapper appears to accept those closest to him for who they are, only to request the same in return.

I’ll probably never understand ya ways
With everyday I swear I hear ya
Trying to change your ways while gettin’ paid at the same time
Just had a baby with the same eyes
Something inside, please let me die these are strange times

How come I never made it
Maybe it’s the way they played it in my heart
I knew one day I gotta be a star
My hopes and all my wishes
So many vivid pictures, and all the currency
I’ll never even get to see

This fast life soon shatters
Cause after all the lights and screams
Nothing but my dreams matter
Hoping for better days
Maybe a peaceful night, baby don’t cry
Cause everything gonna be alright
Just lay your head on my shoulder
Don’t worry bout a thing baby
Girl I’m a soldier (huh)
Never treated me bad, no matter who I was
You still came with that, unconditional love

Tupac Shakur’s music, his poetry and his onscreen presence has solidified him as a legend in entertainment history. And we will undoubtedly enjoy his work for years to come.

Shantell E. Jamison is EBONY’s senior editor of love and relationships. Her book, Drive Yourself in the Right Direction is available on Amazon. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.