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DAR Hip Hop: Ranking 2Pac's Albums

By @TrueGodImmortal

For many, 2Pac was the epitome of hip hop. Though not the most lyrical so to speak, Pac brought poetry to wax, put forth emotion in every verse, and he utilized a smooth flow on production. His artistic gifts would lead him to be seen as one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time, and loved universally. His discography is interesting, as he only released 5 official albums before his murder and there were some posthumous released albums that continued to grow his legacy. However, how do they rank? Where do they rank? That's what we are here to discuss today. What Pac album is the worst? What Pac album is the best? We look at Pac's albums and rank them, including the posthumous albums. Let's get into it.

12. Pac's Life (2006)

-This was the most unnecessary album and the last from the 2Pac discography. What made it so bad? It's uneven. The production isn't much to be excited about, and the older Pac vocals sound out of place with some of the new artists. There's features from Papoose and Chamillionaire, two artists that I couldn't really see Pac having chemistry with, but the songs they are on, seem to actually work. This is just a mess overall and I'm honestly confused on why they made this album. It was better left alone.

Top 3 Songs
"Playa Cardz Right"

11. Loyal To The Game (2004)

-Imagine a world where someone needs a producer for a big album and they choose Eminem. Yeah. That happened. The drudging sound of the Bass Brothers and their guitars alongside the usual dark drum patterns that Em came with are here and they don't fit Pac at all. He has some solid collaborations with G-Unit, Jadakiss, DJ Quik, and more, but the production mostly misses the mark. The rare time when it does connect, the results are a reminder of what could be like "The Uppercut" and the slightly upbeat Nate Dogg assisted "Thugs Get Lonely Too". Overall, this is another uneven Pac posthumous album, but it has a few solid moments overall.

Top 3 Songs
"The Uppercut"
"Black Cotton"
"Soldier Like Me"

10. R U Still Down? (1997)

-The first true posthumous album (Makaveli was done and Pac had it ready to go before his death), this isn't bad at all, just a bit cluttered. A lot of Pac albums suffer from being double albums with a lot of content that's not varied or diverse. This one works but just not enough to really elevate it higher in the catalog. Songs like "Definition Of A Thug Nigga", "Hold On, Be Strong", and "Hellrazor" are great, and a majority of the songs haven't been tampered with, it's just the sequence of the songs and the production is a bit bland. Still a solid album, but just too many songs.

Top 3 Songs
"Definition of A Thug Nigga"
"Hold On, Be Strong"

9. Thug Life Vol. 1 (1994)

-This is essentially a compilation album, but it's really slept on. The only reason why it isn't a bit higher is because of some of the features that weigh down the songs. The songs that Pac are on by himself? Just about perfect. The classic OG version of "Str8 Ballin" is an all time favorite, as is "Pour Out A Little Liquor", but I could honestly have done without Mopreme, Big Syke (RIP), Stretch, and all the other features. This as an album by Pac himself? Possibly another classic for him.

Top 3 Songs
"How Long Will They Mourn Me"
"Str8 Ballin"
"Under Pressure"

8. Still I Rise w/ The Outlawz (1999)

-When we look at the discography of Pac, this album tends to get overlooked just because of the Outlawz being featured. I was never the biggest Outlawz fan, but they do their thing here on this album and despite being mostly overshadowed by Pac like normal, they have memorable moments on this project. My favorite moments of course though come from Pac, whether his verses on songs like "High Speed" and "Secretz of War" or his ability to lead the track and the vibe for a majority of the songs. This is a Pac featuring the Outlawz album, but just like with Thug Life, if Pac would have completed these songs by himself, he likely would have had another possible classic in his solo discography.

Top 3 Songs
"Secretz of War"
"Black Jesuz"
"High Speed"

7. 2Pacalypse Now (1991)

-The debut album from Pac was good, but didn't hint at the greatness he could really see. It showed a young Pac in a mostly conscious state of mind rapping against prison, the system, and social issues, along with a bit of gangsta element underlying also. This album has East Coast tinged production in a way, which works for and against Pac's cause, but it is still a solid project overall. There are some songs here that I could do without, but for the most part, 2Pacalypse Now is very solid, just not in his top 5.

Top 3 Songs
"Brenda's Got a Baby"
"Words of Wisdom"
"Rebel of The Underground"

6. Better Dayz (2002)

-When speaking about albums that personally hold a place for me in Pac's catalog, this is oddly one of them. I remember buying this album from FYE and listening to it everyday on the way to and from school. This album was mostly remixed, but I still loved it. I thought the remixed beats weren't bad and that they fit with Pac and his style, minus a few tracks. Jazze Pha might not sound like he fits on a track with Pac, and that was mostly true, but his work on "There U Go" is one of my favorite hooks on the entire album. Along with that, the 2nd disc of this album is one of the more solid discs of music that had been released since Pac's death. A lot of the songs were kept in their original form and it worked. This is the last of the posthumous releases that really worked.

Top 3 Songs
"There U Go"
"Catchin Feelins"
"Who Do You Believe In"

5. Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z. (1993)

-This album is slept on in Pac's catalog, and I love it more today than I did years ago. It's got some solid production and Pac is entering his prime as an artist here and it shows. He features production from Jam Master Jay, The Live Squad, and more along with features from Ice Cube and Ice T (on the same song), Treach, and of course his Digital Underground family. This album is one of his more concise and cohesive projects and a rare moment when the sophomore album is much better than the debut.

Top 3 Songs
"Keep Ya Head Up"
"I Get Around"
"Last Wordz"

4. Until The End Of Time (2001)

-The best posthumous album of Pac's career and I don't even think it's debatable. While some of the beats on here falter a bit, this double album has enough dope music and production to make it one of his absolute best. A large number of these songs were from his Death Row final days, and they were perfect. A lot of the tracks weren't remixed and kept in original form, which was a smart choice. I wish the original version of "Letter 2 My Unborn" was kept instead of the Trackmasters remix, but the song itself is still a classic. My favorite here is easily the smooth riding "Fuckin Wit The Wrong Nigga", which remains one of my all time favorite Pac songs. The double album concept got utilized a bit too much for Pac after his death, but this is the best executed posthumous album for Pac, and probably the best executed posthumous album ever.

Top 3 Songs
"Fuckin Wit The Wrong Nigga"
"Letter 2 My Unborn"
"When Thugz Cry"

3. All Eyez On Me (1996)

-Though many used to crown this as his best album, it's clearly not. It is a bit cluttered with too many songs and a bit of filler, but trim the album by 7 or 8 songs, and you have an almost flawless album, which speaks to his ability as an artist. The first disc is mostly greatness and just about filler free, while the second disc has a bit of filler all throughout. Still, from the booming "Ambition Az A Ridah" to the impeccable "All Bout U" to the classic Nate Dogg hook on "Skandalouz", that first disc is one of the most infamous discs in hip hop history and mostly why this album is remembered so highly. The 2nd disc has solid track like the hit "Picture Me Rollin" and "Can't C Me", helping to round out the album. The funniest song here? "What'z Ya Phone #", which is still hilarious to me today.

Top 3 Songs
"Ambition Az A Ridah"
"Life Goes On"
"I Ain't Mad At Cha"

2. Makaveli/The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (1996)

-This album is still a classic to me and it's one of the best hip hop albums I've had the pleasure of listening to. Released shortly after his death, this album isn't necessarily a production classic, but Pac took beats that otherwise might have been passed up during this era and made them his own. From the simple yet effective bounce of "Against All Odds" to the sinister "Hail Mary", Pac took unconventional production and made it his. Lyrically, his back is against the wall and he comes out swinging on every track whether at opposers on "Bomb First" or religion on "Blasphemy", Pac speaks his mind freely as always. This album isn't his best, but it is his most aggressive and that's one of the things we love about Pac was his aggression.

Top 3 Songs
"Against All Odds"
"Hail Mary"
"Hold Ya Head"

1. Me Against The World (1995)

-This album just turned 22 years old today. As of this very writing. And it is the best Pac album by a mile. It showcased the best lyricism we have seen from Pac along with his most raw verses and darker songs personally, most of which can be attributed to Pac having to serve jail time shortly after this album was recorded. The album was released while he was in jail making him the first rapper to hit no. 1 while in jail. The production, the lyrics, the emotion, and and the overall feel of the project is what makes Pac so special as an artist. Whether he was speaking honestly to his mother on "Dear Mama" or trying to go after women via "Temptation" and "Can U Get Away", he still kept the essence that we loved his music for. His verses on the title track might be his best ever also, another reason why this album is his best. His focus was unmatched on this album and nothing else in his catalog comes close.

Top 3 Songs
"Lord Knows"
"So Many Tears"
"Me Against The World"


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