For the last week or so, I've had four 2Pac albums in the ride, and honestly it's been quite some time since I've listened to the albums I'm going to briefly talk about in this post.
Strictly 4 My Niggaz (1993)
This 4 star album has to be Pac's most underrated piece of work and it's also home to two of his most successful, well known singles in the form of "I Get Around" and "Keep Ya Head Up." In addition, with tight songs such as the high powered opener "Holler If Ya Hear Me" and the Ice Cube and Ice-T assisted "Last Wordz," which is one of the finest "3 way collabos" you'll ever hear and with there being not too much in the way of filler on the rest of the album, this was very good.
Me Against The World (1995)
Oh man, how many words can I use to describe this album? Not only does it have it's share of classics, "Dear Mama," "So Many Tears," "Temptations," just to name three, this was the first (and I think the last) time a hip hop artist had a #1 album on the charts while serving prison time, which is remarkable and unfortunate at the same time. This remains his best album ever and to say that it's gotten better with time (it turns 20 next year) is certainly an understatement. 5 star classic
All Eyez On Me (1996)
The highly anticipated, first recognized double album in hip hop (his Death Row debut), overall I've always felt this is one of few double albums (in hip hop) that justified its length. With the exception of "What'z Ya Phone #," the first disc (or "Book 1") is simply excellent by itself. I mean, "Ambitionz Az A Ridah," "I Ain't Mad At Cha," "Got My Mind Made Up," "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted," "No More Pain," etc, shall I go on? I still don't know why the remix of "California Love" was included and not the original version, but I still accept it. The second disc ("Book 2"), was good, but not on the level of the first disc. I don't recall there being that many songs catered to the ladies on disc 2, which confirms I haven't played it in a long time, but it was present and very noticeable. History has judged this to be a 5 star classic, and part of me still agrees with that sentiment. My true rating will reflect either if/when I decide to do an "All Eyez On Me" project, which I am considering, or when I get to the hip hop nostalgia 101 sessions focusing on 1996.
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (1996)
As of this posting, I have this album in the ride right now.
Pac was going by "Makaveli" at this point, the album was apparently completed in one week, and it was released on November 5th, almost 2 months after his untimely death. I consider this to be his final studio album and to this day I'm still not interested in any of his posthumous material for obvious reasons. In a way, this album picks up where "All Eyez On Me" leaves off, but it still signified a new direction that Pac was heading in, and you get that throughout this album, which is another excellent one in his discography. Furthermore, I still believe this would've been his last album on Death Row Records, which would've lead to the birth of Makaveli Records with Tha Outlawz as the label's first act. At 12 songs deep, considering the content, it never has sounded rushed or a "contractual obligation," even though the latter may have been evident, but Pac still put his all into this album. 5 stars? I think so.
Aside from all of these albums aging incredibly well, it just confirmed even more how much I miss Pac and how we're never going to get another artist on his caliber ever again, EVER. Will I do a 2Pac project or something related? We shall see. He was truly one of a kind and that reflected in all of his music.