There is no doubting Tupac’s legacy among the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. More than two decades after his death, we can still feel the legacy he left in his music. Attempts to resurrect him in CGI form have been made recently, where he performed alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in 2012. Tupac’s influence was not only felt in hip-hop culture but also popular American and global culture. In this article, we are going to rank the five Tupac albums from his worst to his best.
5. 2Pacalypse Now
2Pacalypse Now is arguably Tupac’s most controversial and political album in his short but eventful career. The album also touched on social issues that plagued American society, such as gang violence, police brutality, teenage pregnancy, racism, and crime. The album featured 13 tracks and three singles, namely, “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” “If My Homie Calls,” and “Trapped.” The first track in the album, “Young Black Male,” circles around urban youth, while “Trapped” sees Tupac compare the inner cities to prisons. “If My Homie Calls” is the ninth track from the album, and it talks about loyalty among black males with lyrics such as, “If you need my assistance, there’ll be no resistance….” The fact that this album ranks at position five in our rankings of Tupac’s greatest studio albums are a testament to how good Tupac was. The album peaked at position 64 on the US Billboard 200 and has been certified gold with over 500,000 sales in the US.
4. The Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory
Tupac’s character went through so many shifts and reconciling who he was not an easy task. He could shift his character from being a passionate guy and turn into a villain within a short period. No album gave a more realistic picture of who Tupac was than this incredible masterpiece. The album features some haunting artwork created by Ronald “Riskie” Brent that features Tupac on a cross to show how the media crucified him, but he is resurrecting artistically. The album was completed in seven days, and it was his first album to be posthumously released. Although the album was slated to be released in March 1997, it was released four months earlier after the death of Tupac. The album’s lyrical content is darker than most of his previous content, with tracks that take a dig at his enemies at the height of the East Coast-West Coast hip hop beef. My favorite tracks from the album are “Hail Mary” and “To Live and Die in L.A.”
3. Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
Although hip-hop of the early 90s was dominated by West Coast rappers such as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Compton’s Most Wanted gang, Tupac was still in the thick of it with 2Pacalypse Now and Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z. which was released in 1993. This album was quite similar to 2Pacalypse Now, with most tracks emphasizing his political and social views. Initially, the track was supposed to be named “Troublesome 21,” although the title was rejected by Time Warner. The album features guest appearances from Tupac’s stepbrother Mopreme, Ice Cube, Dave Hollister, and Ice-T. The album captures different personalities of Tupac where at one moment he is violent and misogynistic and another moment when he calls for an end to police brutality and end to racial discrimination. The album’s first track, “Holla If Ya Hear Me,” is a great track that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The eleventh track, ‘Keep Ya Head Up,” is a song that encourages men to stand up for black women and treat them better.
2. Me Against the World
Me Against the World is arguably Tupac’s most introspective album ever, which according to him, was more of a blues album. The album’s significance in Tupac’s career cannot be understated since it became a hit while he was in prison. It also transformed his image from just a 90s gangsta rapper to a cultural force transcending hip hop. This led him to become one of the most popular MCs on the globe. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at position one, making Tupac the first artist to top the album charts while in prison. The album’s first track, “Dear Mama,” a tribute to his mother Afeni Shakur, was the album’s lead single. The track highlights Tupac’s love for his mother despite her addiction to cocaine and the childhood poverty that afflicted their family. In the track “Lord Knows,” Tupac raps about his struggles and depression while “So Many Tears” sees the rapper come to terms with how the world can be cruel for younger people. Me Against the World is one of Tupac’s most positively reviewed albums and is widely considered to be among the five best hip hop albums of all time.
1. All Eyez On Me
Tupac was a genius at making listeners understand his emotions, and none of his albums prove it better than this one. Death Row Records released the album after Suge Knight and his record label financed a move for Tupac’s from Interscope. They also paid $1.4 million bail to get him released from prison. The agreement was that Tupac would make three albums under the record label to return the money. As part of his contractual obligation, he released the double album, All Eyez On Me. The song features some incredible rap with tracks like “When We Ride” and “Ambitionz Az a Ridah,” which sees him provoking his enemies who would kill him a year after. In the track, “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” he teams up with Snoop Dogg, who was facing murder charges at the time. The track has some slick bars and an impressive beat. In the album, Tupac shows his sentimental side with “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” and “Life Goes On,” which is a tribute to all the friends he lost in the streets. “Picture Me Rollin” is another impressive track in the album, where he addresses his haters telling them to “picture him rollin” after he was released from jail.