DAR Hip Hop: 2Pac's All Eyez On Me


Disc 1
1. Ambitionz Az A Ridah
2. All About You 
3. Skandalouz
4. Got My Mind Made Up 
5. How Do You Want It
6. 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted
7. No More Pain 
8. Heartz Of Men 
9. Life Goes On 
10. Only God Can Judge Me
11. Tradin War Stories 
12. California Love
13. I Ain't Mad At Cha
14. What'z Ya Phone # 

Disc 2
1. Can't C Me
2. Shorty Wanna Be A Thug 
3. Holla At Me
4. Wonda Why They Call U Bitch 
5. When We Ride 
6. Thug Passion
7. Picture Me Rollin
8. Check Out Time 
9. Ratha Be Ya Nigga 
10. All Eyez On Me
11. Run tha Streetz 
12. Ain't Hard 2 Find 
13. Heaven Aint Hard To Find 

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-In hip hop, there are albums that truly mark moments in time. The music quality matters, but some albums are just so impactful that they make waves to last a lifetime. One of these albums would be the first solo hip hop double album from 2Pac, the polarizing All Eyez On Me, released 20 years ago in 1996. It does not feel like 20 years since this album first hit, as classic tracks such as "Ambitionz Az A Ridah", "2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted", and many others still resonate today and can be listened to regularly. 

The backstory of this album is well known and publicized. Pac, bailed out of jail by Suge Knight, went right to work at a dizzying pace, recording this album in about 2 months or so. He would be signed to Death Row Records and make some of the best music of his career, seemingly sounding revitalized and awakened by his release from jail. When this album first hit, I was a young True, not aware of the East Coast and West Coast struggle for hip hop at the time. All I knew was that Pac came out of jail and had an issue with Biggie and that his music was great at the time. You'd hear discussions in the barbershop all the time, but in my hometown, all I would hear about is Pac. From the moment the album dropped, each song in its own way became an anthem. I've always felt that this album could have been one of the greatest ever in quality had it been trimmed to a single disc, but Pac was setting out to make history with the double album and I understand it completely. 

As far as my favorite songs from this album, most of them can he found on disc 1, as I enjoy just about every song on disc 1, though I'm partial to "Ambitionz Az A Ridah", "Skandalouz", "All About U", "Life Goes On", "I Ain't Mad At Cha", and "No More Pain". As far as disc 2, my favorite songs would have to simply be "Can't C Me" and "Holla At Me". Both of these songs seem to be directed at Pac's adversaries and that's when he's at his best usually. Attacking. Other solid tracks from disc 2 like "Picture Me Rollin" and "Ratha Be Ya Nigga" help complete the album as well. With this being a debatable classic (more so in impact), I decided to gather the team up today and discuss this album. Pac is a favorite of many of the people on the team, so I felt it was appropriate. Let's get into it. 

What an album by one of the GOAT emcees. It’s the first double hip-hop solo studio album and man what a way to set the bar. What better track could have opened this album other than “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”? It’s dark. The piano loop is hypnotic with a resonating baseline to layer underneath it. His immaculate delivery, multi-syllabic rhymes, and clever wordplay on the topics he discusses in the first half of the album is amazing. I can’t get enough of “No More Pain” with its haunting instrumental that just slowly moves me to bop my head with the beat. “Life Goes On” slows it down and what a ballad this is. This ballad pays tribute to a friend of his that passed away. Tupac Shakur always had a way with words and his verses were so clear to the ears. He doesn’t make you create the story, his words are the story and he paints the image for the listener. He shows you the image and not many artists are capable to replicate the sheer genius Pac provided in his lifetime. “Only God Can Judge Me” is another dope song. Focusing how no one can put a label on Pac except the man upstairs. His introspective lyricism translates to paper when he discusses his life experiences such as the 1994 shooting. He remained with gangsta rap along with G-Funk instrumentals and we don’t have to discuss how well Pac is at his work.

I honestly preferred “California Love”, the original versus the remix. Both tracks bang, but I like the vibe of the original track and wish it was on the album instead. Disc two in my opinion has more fillers than disc one. “Shorty Wanna Be A Thug” is interesting, and wow is the only word I can put for this track. The samples on this track obviously ring a bell to me from Hank Crawford’s “Wildflower”. I love the anthems like “Run Tha Streetz”, “Thug Passion”, and “When We Ride” also. I have to credit Dr. Dre (or whoever ghostwrote for him) for this verse on "California Love" however:

"Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west/
A state that's untouchable like Elliot Ness/
The track hits ya eardrum like a slug to ya chest/
Pack a vest for your Jimmy in the city of sex/"

So damn clever. “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” also has to be noticed. Anyone who has listened to Pac knows this song. He throws it back to his close friends before he rose to fame. He talks about this topic in the first two verses and you feel that story of hanging out with friends and taking life one day at a time. Then all of a sudden, you make it big and you have to change your life to adjust to that luxury. However, you may have to leave some who fucked with you before you made it. The album is beautiful introspective rap with G-Funk instrumentals. Guest features played their parts on their respective songs, but we also must credit Pac for one hell of an album and work ethic to get it done.

All Eyez On Me. One of ‘Pac’s last studio albums before his death and one of hip hop’s best-selling double albums. I won’t go into all the specific awards, stats, sales and ratings this album received upon its release, but it’s plentiful. What I will talk about is why this album is one of my favorites in his catalog(in a minute). As I’m sure everyone knows, prior to the recording of this album Pac was in jail for a sexual abuse charge which would cause Suge Knight to bail him out. I’m going to leave my thoughts on Suge out of this for maybe another article topic, but this album was essentially the product of the “bail out deal” with Suge. I’m sure Tupac knew that by making this he would, not only keep up his end of the agreement, but yet again leave an imprint in history. He’d be the first rapper in the history of the genre to ever record a double, full length studio solo album. Of course he did. I would expect nothing less from someone who always challenged himself and settled for nothing but the very best. Now let's get in to why this is so great.

“All Eyez On Me” will forever be debated, argued, critiqued and praised and for good reason, with a combined 27 tracks and over 2 hours of bangers, thought provoking tracks, some certified classics and of course a few fillers, this gave every fan something to love, like and hate. Do I think this is a classic album? Not really.. I don’t think double albums can be, because they’re exhaustive and usually “feature heavy”, much like this one is, but is it a fantastic album? Absolutely. Some of my favorite ‘Pac songs are from this album so for me, this is my “go to”.

Disc One is stacked to be honest. “California Love” and “How Do You Want It” would be the certified bangers, and Snoop and Pac together on “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” would be the best collabo coming out of the West Coast at the time and “I Ain’t A
Mad At Cha”, “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” and “Only God Can Judge Me” would be the songs with depth and emotion. Like I said something for everyone. Disc 2 would be a little more rugged but would still incorporate the emotion in “Heaven Aint Hard 2 Find”, “Shorty Wanna Be A Thug” “ Wonda Why They Call U Bitch” and “Thug Passion” to name a few. I love how the discs are referred to as “Books 1 & 2”, although Pac isn’t the best storyteller ever, he takes us through so much variation, it is reminiscent of a story. His comfort with literary devices is evident (think: Wonda Why They Call U Bitch) and as usual, his ease of delivery is noteworthy. No matter what anyone says, Pac was a master at his craft and this album supports that claim. 

I can never say enough great things about Tupac and specifically this album. As much as “All Eyez On Me” gets hate, I feel it’s heavily misplaced. This is a solid double album. It’s not perfect, but a must have nevertheless. Tupac collaborated with some of the greatest MC’s, he gave us banger after banger, and infused each track with his unfiltered experiences and opinions. Everything fans love about him is laced within each minute of this 27 track masterpiece. 

This was one of Pac's best albums, from top to bottom. We got a look into what made him such a revolutionary and polarizing figure in hip-hop through a combination of real talk and REAL talk. The album starts off with "Ambitionz Az A Ridah," a track that captures that revolutionary, "you're not taking me without killing me" spirit laced in with a danceable track with some pretty solid lyricism and an overall "fun" track, in some ways.

On All Eyez, you get, for instance, "How Do U Want It" right around the corner from "2 of Americaz Most Wanted." A song about, plain and simple fucking, right before a song celebrating the Thug Life philosophy. Again, the duality of Pac is on display in a way that we often didn't get fully on other projects and it helps flesh out the mythos of Pac in a way that other projects haven't.

My main gripe with All Eyez is that it's pretty much damn near three CDs long. I'm not an "oh, gimme ten tracks and fuck off" type of music fan. But, when you've got almost 30 tracks between the album? It could've been trimmed. That's always been a slight gripe I've had about Pac albums as a whole, but I get it. Life doesn't end even when YOUR life does, and Pac, perhaps, was trying to illustrate that through these epically-long projects.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-I agree with the sentiment that this album was a bit too stacked. A bit too much. The greatness of Pac was felt through this album, but I'd wish some of the 2nd disc songs would have been left off. This album at 17-18 tracks would have been absolutely perfect, but regardless, this album is one of the monumental moments in hip hop. 



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