Even now, 2Pac remains very well-known. In short, his conscious hip hop made him one of the most notable names in the West Coast hip hop of the 1990s, with the result that he has influenced a huge number of subsequent artists. That influence is matched by 2Pac’s more than 75 million records sold, which are enough to make him one of the best-selling artists of all time. During his lifetime, he completed five studio albums, including one that wasn’t released until a short while after his death from a drive-by shooting on September 7 of 1996. Since then, a number of other studio albums have been released as well, though they are considered to be at least somewhat separate by most interested individuals.
5. 2Pacalypse Now
This was 2Pac’s debut studio album. It commented upon a wide range of social issues in the United States, with examples including but not limited to racism, poverty, and police brutality. Content-wise, a lot of people have judged its lyrics to be excellent while its beats needed work. This was understandable because of its status as 2Pac’s debut studio album but this nonetheless made it incapable of competing with his other releases. Having said that, 2Pacalypse Now already showed clear signs of the charisma that would enable its creator to become a legend, so it is fair to say that it is quite memorable in its own right. Other than that, it is interesting to note that this studio album was rather controversial in its own time. A defense attorney claimed that his client had been influenced by 2Pacalypse Now’s commentary on police brutality when he killed a Texas state trooper. As a result, then U.S. vice president Dan Quayle said that the studio album had no place in American society. Something that further raised its profile.
4. Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
After 2Pacalypse Now came this studio album. Once again, its songs often contained 2Pac’s views on both social and political matters. However, it was clear that it was an improvement upon its predecessor. To name an example, 2Pac’s charisma is even more evident here than on 2Pacalypse Now. Furthermore, while this studio album still has something of an underground sound, it is a clear step towards its much more polished successors. Sales-wise, it did quite well, with the result that it is sometimes seen as 2Pac’s breakthrough release. However, it tends to be over-shadowed in this regard by Me Against the World, meaning that claim is oft-challenged.
3. All Eyez On Me
All Eyez On Me stands out for a number of reasons. For example, it was 2Pac’s fourth studio album, which means that it was the last studio album to be released within his lifetime. Similarly, it was one of 2Pac’s most popular releases, as shown by how it went Diamond in the United States. On top of this, All Eyez On Me was the first time that a solo hip-hop studio album was double-length. As such, it is no wonder that All Eyez On Me is often considered to be either 2Pac’s best or at least one of 2Pac’s best releases. For that matter, it shows up a lot in lists of the greatest hip-hop studio albums ever released as well. Having said that, it is exactly All Eyez On Me’s length that puts it in this position. The best of its contents is more than capable of holding their own with the rest of 2Pac’s work. Unfortunately, not every single one of its 20+ tracks are capable of reaching that same standard, meaning that they drag down the release as a whole. If All Eyez On Me had been pared down to the absolute best of its tracks, it seems reasonable to speculate that it would have been unchallengeable as the best of 2Pac’s releases.
2. The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
As mentioned earlier, one of 2Pac’s studio albums was completed just a short while before his death. It should come as no surprise to learn that this was his fifth studio album, which has been analyzed and re-analyzed. In fact, it should be mentioned that there were conspiracy theorists who thought that 2Pac didn’t die because of the drive-by shooting, meaning that the whole thing was just a publicity stunt meant to sell more records. In any case, the circumstances of its release often overshadow the release itself, which is unfortunate because it is the work of a true music veteran. The studio album featured some of 2Pac’s most memorable lyrics plus some of his best instrumentation, thus making for a powerful combination. Still, it loses points because of filler tracks, meaning that it falls just a bit short of the number one position.
1. Me Against the World
Its two predecessors were very concerned with society as a whole. As such, Me Against the World stands out because it is a much more personal release, so much so that it tends to be regarded as 2Pac’s most introspective work. In part, this was supposed to be reflective of his increasing maturity. However, it was also prompted by his personal troubles, which included an impending prison sentence because of a sexual assault case. Regardless, the result is that Me Against the World might be 2Pac’s most complete work in the sense that it reflects more of the artist than any of his other studio albums. Moreover, it managed to be both coherent and well-balanced, thus enabling it to pull ahead of the competition. It isn’t uncommon to see claims that 2Pac’s second studio album was his breakthrough release. If so, then Me Against the World was the release that guaranteed him a place in music history.