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It’s been a few days since the 16th anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s untimely death at the hands of Suge Knii..aaah… some guy. So, I thought I’d drop a top 10 of sorts and write a little about why Pac will always be not just one of the best hip hop artists of all time but one of the greatest recording artists ever. Then I thought I would just put together a top 50 as it is more fun.
Excluding his work with Strictly Dope, Digital Underground and albums with Thug Life and The Outlawz I decided to split the 50 into five top tens each representing a different style of track.
Some are fairly interchangeable but all are fantastic.
10 – Made Niggaz ft. The Outlawz – Gang Related OST
9 – Bomb First (My Second Reply) ft. E.D.I. Mean & Young Noble – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
8 – Die Slow – You Never Heard
7 – Lil Homies – Until The End of Time
6 – Fuck The World – Me Against the World
5 – When We Ride on Our Enemies – Better Dayz
4 – Me & My Girlfriend – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
3 – Holler If Ya Hear Me – Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
2 – Troublesome ’96 – Greatest Hits
1 – Hit ‘Em Up ft. The Outlawz – How Do You Want It single
10 – Brenda’s Got a Baby – 2Pacalypse Now
9 – Thugz Mansion (Acoustic Version) ft. Nas & J.Phoenix – Until The End of Time
8 – Keep Ya Head Up ft. Dave Hollister – Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
7 – I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto – R U Still Down? (Remember Me)
6 – I Ain’t Mad At Cha ft. Danny Boy – All Eyes On Me
5 – Life Goes On – All Eyes On Me
4 – So Many Tears – Me Against the World
3 – Unconditional Love – Greatest Hits
2 – Words to My First Born ft. Nutt-So – The Death Row Sessions EP
1 – Dear Mama – Me Against the World
10 – Wanted Dead or Alive ft. Snoop Dogg – Gridlock’d OST
9 – Changes – Greatest Hits
8 – Wonda Why They Call U Bitch – All Eyes On Me
7 – 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted ft. Snoop Dogg – All Eyes On Me
6 – Do For Love ft. Eric Williams – R U Still Down? (Remember Me)
5 – Toss It Up ft. Danny Boy, Aaron Hall, K-Ci & JoJo – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
4 – Thug N U Thug N Me Ft. K-Ci & JoJo – Until The End of Time
3 – All ‘bout You ft. featuring Dru Down, Nate Dogg, Yaki Kadafi, Hussein Fatal & Snoop Dogg – All Eyes On Me
2 – How Do You Want It? Ft. K-Ci & JoJo – All Eyes On Me
1 – California Love ft. Dr Dre & Roger Troutman – All Eyes On Me
10 – RU Still Down – R U Still Down? (Remember Me)
9 – God Bless The Dead – Greatest Hits
8 – Until The End of Time – Until The End of Time
7 – Staring Through My Rear View ft. The Outlawz – Gang Related OST
6 – When Thugs Cry – Until The End of Time
5 – Who Do You Believe In? ft. Yaki Kadafi – Chronic 2000
4 – Hail Mary ft. The Outlawz & Prince Ital Joe – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
3 – Blasphemy – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
2 – Only Fear of Death – R U Still Down? (Remember Me)
1 – Pain ft. Stretch – Above The Rim OST
Best of The Rest
10 – Ghetto Gospel ft. Elton John – Loyal to the Game
9 – Trapped – 2Pacalypse Now
8 – To Live & Die In L.A. – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
7 – Temptations – Me Against the World
6 – I Get Around – Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
5 – All Eyez On Me ft. Big Syke – All Eyes On Me
4 – Heartz of Men – All Eyes On Me
3 – Let’s Be Friends – You Never Heard
2 – Only God Can Judge Me ft. Rappin’ 4-Tay – All Eyes On Me
1 – Me Against The World – Me Against the World
My Personal 10
10 – Only God Can Judge Me ft. Rappin’ 4-Tay – All Eyes On Me
If you love yourself, lest you fear no rival and Pac feared no one but God!
9 – Words to My First Born ft. Nutt-So – The Death Row Sessions EP
A beautifully gentle track complete with sax and smooth DJ Quik production. One for the ‘young thugs’.
8 – Let’s Be Friends – You Never Heard
A reminder of a special time I had with some friends of mine where we ventured off camping along with a stack of 2pac cassette tapes and our first bottle of Hennessy – fun times! A good track too, Pac dances between lunacy and playfulness.
7 – Blasphemy – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
Seriously haunting in sound and content, Blasphemy asks many powerful questions about religion. Pac is portrayed as a Christ or Moses like figure and explores his issues dealing with keeping himself free from sin.
6 – Heartz of Men – All Eyes On Me
Another kick ass Quik beat with Pac sounding incredibly passionate about his scepticism toward friends and what really lies in the hearts of men.
5 – Me Against The World – Me Against the World
Booming sound with lyrics again telling tales of lost friends and feelings of alienation and struggle. Very upbeat and hip hoppy.
4 – Holler If Ya Hear Me – Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
An energy charged anthem of rebellion and an early example of Pac’s incredibly potent rhetoric. This could easily ignite a dance floor as well as a Black Panther rally.
3 – Dear Mama – Me Against the World
This is an absolute classic which provides some real insight into the main woman and influence in Pac’s life. We all love our mama and this tune makes you appreciate them even more.
2 – Me & My Girlfriend – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
Influenced by Nas’ track I Gave You Power this is a truly sinister track which, like many, I first thought was merely about a relationship with a woman not a gun. This is a sad but ingenious twist as Pac tells of his reluctance to put faith in anyone else but a weapon. Great sound and very clever.
1 – Pain ft. Stretch – Above The Rim OST
One of the first tracks Pac recorded for Tha Row, Pain is quintessential Pac as it recalls themes prevalent in all his music ie. struggle, substance abuse, paranoia, poverty’s trappings and gang life. Featuring Stretch the track’s featured MCs are no longer around to hold a mic and this is the saddest but still most potent pointer in this powerful piece which closes in a more inspirational fashion.
“And everyday is just a struggle
Steady thuggin’ on the streets
And i’ll be ballin’ loc
Don’t let ’em make you worry
Keep swingin’ at these suckas till you buried.”