audio review : All Eyez On Me ( album ) … 2Pac

audio review : All Eyez On Me ( album ) ... 2Pac

2Pac is, as a rapper, near the height of popularity, so the exaggerated title of this album isn’t too far off. All Eyez aren’t on him, but a mixture of vanity and paranoia probably makes it seem that way from his point of view. It’s still Me Against The World, in other words. Everyone else is just waiting to see what his next move is going to be. And if we’re looking, we’re listening. So this album is for the whole world.

It will be heard by the rap music crowds more than anyone else though. And in that category, it holds its own. 2Pac isn’t the best rapper or anywhere near the best; the thug poet rarely has anything clever or particularly creative to say; but there is something to be said for his distinct sing-songy flow in which he randomly emphasizes words by stretching syllables and putting an exclamation mark at the end.

If it’s not impressive enough on its own, and I don’t think it is, it sounds a lot better over a sleek array of well-produced hip-hop beats. There are also a lot of decent guest rappers; almost every song has one; but it’s the guest singers that really stand-out. When one provides a catchy hook, that song instantly becomes one of the best and 2Pac, the rapper, shines more than he could probably ever shine on his own.

The second half of this 2-pack, a double album as far as CDs and cassettes go, is superior in that regard. Run Tha Streetz and Rather Be Ya Nigga are catchy and romantic, or at least as romantic as 2Pac songs get, and Thug Passion is all you need in the bedroom. Even when he’s calling out enemies in a violent rage, daring them to Holla at him, a singer is right there instigating with melodic taunts of her own.

With that, the album, like most double albums, would do better as one set of, say, its best fourteen or thirteen tracks. That means weaker songs like When We Ride, Hearts Of Men and How Do U Want It; not all the singer hooks do well; would have to go. But even as is, there are enough interesting things happening in the way of side hooks, ad-libs and monologues, to hold your attention from beginning to end.

my rating : 4 of 5

1996

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