I have never really rated Tupac, heresy some of you may cry. Well I had thought he was overrated and to be honest I just never gave the guy any time. Admittedly the themes of his songs seemed intelligent and I should have liked that, but I guess it just didn’t touch me for some reason. Anyhow, there are about a billion hardcore Tupac fans out there who are about ready to spill my claret, so I had better move on.

The press for this release states that there is not another man in the history of Hip Hop that has made such an impact as Tupac. Whilst this could be arguable on sheer factualness, it can not really be dismissed as Pac had the ability to touch people directly. Since his untimely death there have been copious posthumous releases, some of which should have firmly stayed as studio cuttings. This CD purports to be different as it has been put together by Assassin, Shok G, Mike Mosley and Ant Banks amongst others who were Tupac’s original producers.

01. Intro: The Way He Wanted It
02. Get Money (Feat. Kyle Rifkin)
03. Under Pressure On My Block (Feat. Assassin)
04. What’s Up Wit Tha Luv (Feat. Digital Underground)
05. Ghetto Gospel (Feat. Kyle Rifkin)
06. Black Cotton
07. My Enemy’z (Feat. Silverback Guerillaz)
08. Life’s So Hard On A G
09. Never Be Peace (Feat. C-Bo)
10. Death B4 Dishonor (Feat. Big Syke, Mopreme, 2Side & Assassin)
11. We Do This (Feat. Breed, Too Short & Goldy)
12. Love Letterz (Feat. Assassin, Shock-G & Rappin 4-Tay)
13. Niggaz Done Changed (Feat. Richie Rich)
14. The Life Of Danga
15. I’d Rather Be Yo Luva! (Feat. Madonna)
16. All Out (Bonus Track) (Feat. The Outlawz)

The CD opens up with a dig at the G-Unit and Eminem for producing under par LPs on The Makaveli’s behalf, before it is quickly on to the first full track Get Money, a well crafted classic G-Funk composition. Rhyming and story telling skills are shown on Under Pressure On My Block, but the beat is piss poor and the gruffly chanted chorus sounds generic.

What’s Up Wit Tha Luv is more typical Tupac in that there are elements of the track that appeal, but the singing and general composition just don’t bring the whole thing together for me. The CD contains the original version of Ghetto Gospel a real riders track. Life’s So Hard On A G comes with a great bass line and Tupac certainly lets his emotions show, but as before the sum of all the pieces doesn’t blow me away.

We Do This steps away from Tupac’s normal sound and comes with a more funky element and a summery vibe, rather than the normal political slave talk. Love Letters brings a head nodding vibe, whereas Niggaz Done Changed reverts to type with a beat which lacks any type of groove of feeing at all. The Life Of Danga flips up the same sample used for Ill St. Blues and benefits for this, but doesn’t touch the original. The whole LP draws to a close with the I’d Rather Be Yo Luva!, the track which features Madonna, before the hidden track All Out which features The Outlawz.

There are a whole load of collaborators on this CD, as you would expect, as this helps to spread out what material of Tupac’s there is left to hear. Other featured artists include famous West coast heads including: Big Syke, Mopreme, Too Short, Shock G, Rappin 4 Tay, The Outlawz, and even Madonna! She gets a look in because Madonna spent some time checking Tupac as she slagged her way through her career.

If you are tired of all the Tupac releases after his death, this one could change your minds. The whole album takes you back to that era when the West coast was dominant and with all the unreleased songs on here, even the most ardent Tupac fan should find something here they want.

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