September 12, 2014

Makaveli - The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (November 5, 1996)



Tomorrow will mark eighteen years since Tupac Amaru Shakur was whisked away to the Bahamas killed, passing away after being the victim of a shooting on the Las Vegas strip following a boxing match.  Feel old yet?  You will: this means that, as of tomorrow, there will be actual adults wandering around the planet that have lived in a world without Pac their entire goddamn lives. 

Yep.


The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is the final album that Pac would record as a cohesive project; everything else that has dropped since his untimely passing is the result of third parties (and oftentimes Pac's own mother) compiling unreleased tracks in the hopes of catching lightning in a bottle.  It was recorded and released under Shakur's newly-acquired alias Makaveli, which was adapted from Italian philosopher and politician Niccolo Machiavelli, whose work Skakur became very familiar with during his stint in prison.  This association was most certainly intentional, since it caused his fans to later assume that Pac had faked his death to gain control over his enemies, as that is one of many subjects that Machiavelli has mentioned in his writings but the one thing most relevant to keeping 2Pac alive in the hearts and minds of many.

I've gone into detail before about how Pac was sprung from the bing thanks to Marion "Suge" Knight's pocketbook, and how he agreed to a three-album deal with Death Row Records in return for the gratitude.  Sensing he was in a bad situation, though, 2Pac set about recording as many songs as he possibly could, as he wanted to get out of his contract quickly.  To do so without arousing suspicion, Shakur became, for the most part, Suge Knight's right-hand man, an aggressive, diminutive pit bull who would attack any artist who would have the audacity, the gall, the stones to disrupt Death Row's day-to-day operations, which explains why Pac sounded much more volatile upon his release from prison than he did on Me Against The World, his third album, which was recorded prior to and released during his sentence.

However brash he appeared on the outside, Pac was struggling internally, watching helplessly as his new workplace crumbled around him, as acts quickly defected when they disagreed with the direction Suge was taking the label, the most prominent being label co-founded Dr. Dre.  His first release for the Death Row ended up being the double-disc All Eyez On Me, which Maxes everywhere proclaimed to be stuffed full of filler amidst a handful of actual good songs, but it technically counted as two of the three albums he had to deliver, so in that respect, it did its job, I suppose.  So even though he played up the public persona of loyal employee, he in 1996 2Pac privately recorded an album with a handful of collaborators without Suge's knowledge.

He wrote all of the material in three days, and production and mixing took an additional four: in total, within one week 2Pac has The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory ready for human consumption.  (That's where the whole "The 7 Day Theory" thing comes from, by the way.)  With such a short turnaround time, it's to be expected that Pac wouldn't have had much room for quality control: in fact, the title of the album itself is fucked up, as is his new alias: it was originally supposed to be called Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory and was to be credited to "Makaveli The Don", a nickname you've all heard Pac refer to himself as.  

The album art even seems like more of a placeholder than anything actually intended for human consumption (even with the disclaimer Pac was so careful to place right on the cover), and the music all sounds rushed and could have benefited from some extra time in the oven.   Nobody will ever know how this could have sounded has Pac not been murdered one month later: if he had survived to see this project through, would it have come across as more of a work of art and not the mixtape-esque rush job it is?  That's for you all to bitch at me about in the comments, but I will admit nobody expected that some (but not all) of Pac's lyrics would approach much darker subject matter than anything he had attempted before.

But then again, a lot of this album reaches for that Thug Life rainbow that unfortunately taints 2Pac's legacy much more than any other rap blogger will ever admit to.


1. BOMB FIRST (MY SECOND REPLY) (FEAT. E.D.I. & YOUNG NOBLE)
Such a messy way to kick off a project, which is probably why Pac stans feel that this song is more important and immediate than other discerning listeners may admit. And I'm not just referring to the dialogue at the very beginning that allegedly says “Suge shot me” or "Suge shot him" even though that's all just bullshit (the sound bite, not the Suge thing, that definitely happened in some fashion). After a very long intro, on which our host takes potshots (through the line reading of a “newscaster”) at his East Coast “adversaries” while explaining that he isn't specifically targeting the East Coast, Pacaveli uses the weak instrumental (which he co-produced with Big D) to, you guessed it, Frank Stallone attack his East Coast “adversaries”. Puffy and Biggie get the brunt of the verbal abuse because duh, but Mobb Deep and Jay-Z, among others, are tossed into the mix. Then Pac lets his friends have the ball, and E.D.I. Mean uses it to attack Xzibit, weirdly, because of Alvin's dismissal of people “only in the rap game...for the money and the fame” on his 1996 single “Paparazzi”. Which is definitely a strange target, since going against what X says makes you sound like an materialistic sellout asshole (not that X hasn't sold out, but that's a story for another time), and especially because in no way was Alvin going after The Outlawz, but you bet your dick the dude goes there. Anyway, I never really liked this piss-poor posse cut, and not just because the title makes no grammatical sense, but Pac's pitbull-level ferocity is firing on all cylinders: it's clear that he recorded not just this song, but everything on The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, in a single take, and didn't even bother to edit because he just did not fucking care. Oh, and because the quicker this album got released to store shelves, the faster he would be off of his contract with Death Row. Can't forget that little tidbit.

2. HAIL MARY (FEAT, THE OUTLAWZ)
The only song I remember actually liking on The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, which lumps me in with damn near every other hip hop head on the planet (I know of exactly nobody that hates this song, which means every comment below will come from someone who can't stand this shit, and I accept that). And that's even though The Outlawz disrupt the flow with their amateur-hour contributions halfway through. Until that point, though, Pacaveli owns the Hurt-M-Badd instrumental, which somehow sounds both ominous and goofy at the same time, but that's intended to be a compliment. Our host works in elements of menace and derangement (see: the unnecessary sexual references throughout and the religious allusions, which make 2Pac sound like a rapping serial killer who believes he is doing God's work) into his typical Thug Life horseshit, and the combination works. However, and this is blasphemy, I'm aware, I honestly feel that Eminem, 50 Cent, and Busta Rhymes did a better job on their mixtape freestyle over “Hail Mary” that dissed Ja Rule (recorded partly in response to Ja remaking 2Pac's “Pain”, a song that I fucking love, so why not remake a different Pac track to take him to task?, and recorded partly because Ja Rule was an easy target and it was probably fun for them), because there were no Outlawz available to fuck everything up, and I say that even though Curtis and Marshall were clearly aping the moves of Makaveli throughout their contributions. I still enjoyed half of this today: if you're somehow unfamiliar with “Hail Mary”, just skip to the next track once someone that isn't 2Pac begins to rap. You won't miss anything, I promise.

3. TOSS IT UP (FEAT. DANNY BOY, AARON HALL, & K-CI & JOJO)
Leading out of “Hail Mary”, this track starts off sinister as shit...and then becomes the BLACKstreet “No Diggety” rip-off “Toss It Up”, which features no less than four separate R&B singers as guests. What a strange artistic choice, right? It's still in line with 2Pac's overall career path, where his mandatory “song for the ladies” still manages to contain violent or otherwise fucked-up content: All Eyez On Me's hit single “How Do U Want It”, which also featured Jodeci's K-Ci & Jojo, boasted about how our host “[flosses] on [his] enemies” and trashed civil rights activist C. Delores Tucker, and “Toss It Up” devotes nearly Pac's entire second verse (he gets two verses, even though he's barely a presence on his own goddamn song on here) to threatening former Death Row labelmate Dr. Dre with bodily harm, since he had left the label to pursue other, non-Suge Knight-related interests. Puffy also earns a brief mention toward the end. Kind of difficult to get a lady in the mood when Pac starts bullying other rappers. The caricature of Teddy Riley's “No Diggety” beat is fake as fuck: there's no way this would have ever made the final cut of a major label effort had Pac not just died. But since Dre also appeared on “No Diggety”, I guess it makes sense? The tonal shifts will make your eyes bleed.

4. TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A. (FEAT. VAL YOUNG)
Whose brilliant idea was it to play a serious news clip dissecting Pac's lyrics right before QDIII's happy-go-lucky instrumental for “To Live & Die In L.A.”? Because they should be drawn and quartered, as that shit made no goddamn sense. Our host delivers a love letter to his adopted city, and admirably sticks to the theme (for the most part), surrounded by the flat, tuneless vocals of Val Young on the hook and throughout. I get that The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory was quickly recorded on the cheap, but you obviously had the resources, Pac: you could have held out for a better singer. This track was released as a single, but it didn't have a shelf life nearly as long as that of the last time Pac did something similar, All Eyez On Me's Dr. Dre-featured “California Love”. In fact, I'm almost certain Pac was so pissed at Dre that he recorded this song in the hopes that somehow we would all forget that “California Love” even existed. Strong (fictional) words from a man who wasn't even originally supposed to get the beat for “California Love”, sir. So.

5. BLASPHEMY (FEAT. PRINCE ITAL JOE)
One of my problems with The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is how our host never fully commits to the darkness and creepy undertones layered throughout: he plays with fire for a second or two, and then immediately retreats to the rivers and lakes he's used to. Not that 2Pac really wanted the audience to feel uneasy, but listen to the distorted sound bite that opens “Blasphemy” (or you can do it like I did, and listen to the distorted sound bite that opens “Blasphemy” after having watching the finale of True Detective several months ago) and the Hurt-M-Badd instrumental that kicks in later and tell me there isn't a disconnect. Pacaveli doesn't sound bad, but his message is diluted into what sounds like just another generic song, and guest Prince Ital Joe fails to add anything to the proceedings, just as he similarly failed on “Hail Mary”. Perhaps using only seven days to record an album wasn't the brightest move from a quality control standpoint, eh?

6. LIFE OF AN OUTLAW (FEAT. THE OUTLAWZ)
At least with a song entitled “Life Of An Outlaw”, it's expected that all of our host's rhymes will fit into the “talking shit about my lifestyle” mold. Unfortunately, it's also expected that Pac's weed carriers will appear, and this trifle, which admittedly isn't half bad (although incomplete in a musical sense) comes screeching to a goddamn halt the moment his weed carriers begin to check in with bullshit verses. Pac doesn't even seem to be all that sold on his own group, only choosing to directly address Napoleon before his contribution begins. The singing on the hook screams, “Why oh why did Nate Dogg leave the studio to get a taco right now?”, although both Pac and Big D share production credit, so that's probably why our host let things slide. Well, that, and the whole “I'm trying to get out of my Death Row contract as quickly as I fucking can” thing.

7. JUST LIKE DADDY (FEAT. THE OUTLAWZ)
Proof positive that there was never any sort of concept planned for The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, aside from it being a mere rap album and not, in fact, a dark conspiracy theory dressed up in musical clothes, comes in the form of the Hurt-M-Badd-produced, overlong love-slash-sex rap “Just Like Daddy”. Makaveli apparently needs the touch of a female...'s vagina enclosed around his dick as much as 2Pac ever did, and so this bullshit ends up sounding like a poorly-produced outtake from All Eyez On Me, entirely out of place. Since it's still really weird to hear a guy who was once convicted of sexual assault talk about banging, his Outlawz friends stop by to break up the monotony, and they proceed to utterly waste a Honeydrippers sample (from “Impeach The President”, because what else would hip hop producers ever use?) on one of the most generic of topics. Groan...

8. KRAZY (FEAT. BAD AZZ)
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is definitely not the album to turn to when you want to hear an example of a perfect marriage between what you think a song with the title [insert song name here] should sound like versus what kind of beat 2Pac assigned to it. “Krazy” is in no fucking way anywhere near crazy. Instead, it comes across as one of those more reflective joints West Coast acts are fond of including where the artist involved recognizes the violent and contradictory nature of his or her lifestyle but feels powerless to stop the cycle, if even just for themselves. Pacaveli invited Bad Azz, of the Snoop baggage handlers group LBC Crew, to contribute to this Big D production, mostly because Pac's actual seat fillers were blowing off the writing portion of the act of writing their rhymes and our host wasn't playing around in the studio like that. This song isn't bad, but given how our host repents his repentance at the end, I'm left wondering just what the point of all of this was.

9. WHITE MAN'Z WORLD (FEAT. BIG D)
As much as I thought All Eyez On Me was a bloated affair that isn't nearly as good as everyone else thinks it is and is only remembered as fondly as it is because Pac passed away shortly after releasing it, I will admit that the beats on the double-disc effort trump the shit on The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory by a country goddamn mile, whatever that means. A mile is a mile: it's all about perspective. Anyway, Big D's bullshit Trackmasters-esque work behind the boards diffuses our host's argument throughout “White Man'z World”, which isn't quite as racially-charged as the title and the sampled dialogue throughout would lead one to believe. I don't honestly think Pac was trying to record an album that your grandmother could enjoy, but thanks to this crappy song, I'm left with no other rational explanation.

10. ME AND MY GIRLFRIEND
One of the most fascinating stories regarding the making of The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory revolves around the relationship between 2Pac and Nas. After a relatively one-sided beef initiated mainly because of where Nasir lived at the time, they kissed and made up, and Nas was actually asked to appear on The Don Killuminati: The7 Day Theory, although a scheduling conflict prevented history from being made. Probably for the best, though: by the time The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory was on store shelves, Pacaveli had transformed himself into a one-man army whose only goal was to take over the East Coast, so it may not have been looked upon favorably if Nasir Jones appeared on a project that took shots at every other major artist in New York, as he could have been perceived as a traitor. And Suge Knight never got the memo, apparently, since he still hates Nas for some reason, trashing him in the press while, in the same breath, offering praise galore for Jay-Z's blatant ripoff “'03 Bonnie & Clyde”, even though Pac never actually squashed the beef with Hov. Anyway, “Me And My Girlfriend”, the infamous song about the love our host has for his gun of choice, was itself inspired by Nas's “I Gave You Power” (from It Was Written), which is told from the point of view of the weapon itself, although Nas didn't employ some random chick who happened to be in the studio that day to personify the actual gun. (Complex seems to believe that the “random chick” is actually Makaveli's fellow Death Row colleague The Lady Of Rage, which, if this is the case, would make her the only labelmate to make the actual album, and also doesn't explain why she never received any sort of proper credit in the liner notes. For now, I'm leaving the guest features on this song blank, so as to mirror what Pac felt important enough to tell us, obviously.) The soft-spoken, guitar-plucked instrumental (credited to three producers: Big D, Hurt-M-Badd, and Pac himself) will sound familiar to everyone even if you've never heard of this album before today, since Jay's take on the material (swapping the weapon out for Beyonce) was much more popular on radio and MTV airwaves. Kudos to Pac for branching out into extended metaphor territory, but given his ad-libbing at the end, it's clear that he ran out of ideas long before he ran out of music. Had 2Pac never heard of ending a track after two verses and moving on if he had nothing more to say? That tactic seems to work for today's rappers...

11. HOLD YA HEAD (FEAT. TYRONE WRICE)
A missed opportunity. “Hold Ya Head” starts off with the sounds of jail cells slamming shut, so it appears as though Pacaveli is going to send a message, in Hurt-M-Badd-produced song form, to his homeys in the clink, similar to alleged rival Nas, who did the same with the seminal “One Love” (from Illmatic). Hell, “One Love” is even briefly evoked on here: not the actual Nas song, but odds are the minds of you two will immediately go there anyway. But then our host's first verse kicks off, and you quickly discover he's talking the same randomizer Thug Life horseshit that defined the Death Row portion of his career, with no care taken whatsoever to make sure “Hold Ya Head” is, you know, actually about something. Pac was fully capable of weaving a compelling song out of strands of Thug Life yore, so the fact that “Hold Ya Head” is boring as shit is unacceptable. Sue me.

12. AGAINST ALL ODDS
Remember that Eminem/50 Cent/Busta Rhymes “Hail Mary” freestyle I mentioned earlier? The first verse of the highly combustible “Against All Odds” clearly informed Curtis's contribution. Over a Makaveli / Hurt-M-Badd joint effort that, as is standard on The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, fails to be as aggressive as the song's author, our host takes his time attacking Nas and others, but mostly Nas, while dropping tidbits of information that he even mentions would probably get him killed. So, obviously, conspiracy theorists have jumped all over Pac's vocals in an effort to put all of the pieces together. As a song, though, this is merely alright: “Against All Odds” is an account of the struggle between Pac's intensity and passion and the incomplete-ish beat that has to reign him in, well, against all odds. Hey, I see what I did there. This is far from “the realest shit [he] ever wrote” (yeah, I said it), and it deserved a much better, more ominous instrumental backing it, but damn it, Tupac Shakur had a way of making the listener feel his pain, even if that pain was self-inflicted in a battle against Nas, who is by every definition a much better rapper than 2Pac ever was, and I say that even though it's pretty clear on this site that I have a bias against Nas. Cue the hate mail in three, two...

FINAL THOUGHTS:  If you're looking for an album that's more important due to its historical significance than it is for any of the actual music contained within, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is for you.  I'm obviously not a 2Pac stan, but I know and can appreciate good music when I hear it, and from a technical standpoint, none of the tracks on this project are anything that could be considered "good", and that's to be expected due to its design: when you brag about having recorded the entire album in one long seven-day stretch, it's assumed that the thing was rushed to store shelves without much thought given to quality control (hence the unfinished nature of some of the songs therein).  It's almost unfair to rate these as actual 2Pac songs when you realize that these twelve tracks were simply a handful amongst the hundreds, if not thousands, Pacaveli recorded in his ultimately failed effort to get the fuck off of Death Row Records as quickly as possible: when you're looking at quantity and not quality, it makes much more sense that a lot of the songs on here (and on All Eyez On Me, another album I'm dragging into the discussion in an effort to get a rise out of you two) tend to sound interchangeable, to the point of having almost identical lyrical content.  Pac has always been one of the most passionate rappers in the game, gifted with the ability to make the listener feel his pain and suffer through his struggles and paranoia alongside him, but that doesn't always come through on The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory: the man is only as good as his choice in collaborators, and I'm starting to think he included The Outlawz on as many tracks as he did so that he could stretch out his notebook full of verses to as many tracks as humanly possible.  Conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this album, as will Pac's stans who believe that the man could do no wrong even though his finest album, Me Against The World, doesn't even seem to merit much mention online anymore (that's a fucking shame, by the way: I really think that was his best work, but he could have easily topped it had he never gotten mixed up with Suge Knight in the first place, since 2Pac wasn't without talent), but for actual hip hop fans who are silly enough to enjoy the music, well, I'll say this: I think so-called Pac stans dissect this album far more often than they actually listen to the fucking thing, because a lot of it isn't really worth listening to more than the once.  Blasphemy?  Prove me wrong, motherfuckers.

BUY OR BURN?  If we pretend that all of you don't already have this album in your possession, because this is just one of those "event" projects that heads seem to have to own, then a burn is more than sufficient.  I prefer my Tupac Shakur to be quiet, introspective, and not quite so paranoid that his situation with Death Row Records was going to result in his demise.  Had the man not been killed when he was, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory would have been chastised for what it is: a rush job with no real focus.  And we all know Pac could do better than this, and has, many times before.

BEST TRACKS: “Hail Mary” (first half); parts of “Against All Odds”

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Catch up with and/or get pissed at me about the rest of the 2Pac reviews by clicking here.


52 comments:

  1. There is going to be a shitton of comments on this one. Why u do dis to yourself Max? Was it because of the recent lack of comments?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ha, this prompted me to look back on my review for the album. How cringe-worthy. Interesting fact: I was eighteen when I wrote that. And yes, my opinion towards it has changed—drastically. I never listen to this album anymore. I do think it's an alright collection of tracks, but it is nowhere near as good as I previously thought, and it is definitely NOT my favorite album of all time (Jesus, my life has changed quite a bit since 2011). I suppose it should be mentioned that, at the time of my writing that review, I ONLY listened to hip-hop. Since then, my tastes have expanded, and my understanding of hip-hop itself has drastically improved.

    But I still do enjoy the production on this album. The primary issue with it is 2Pac's lyrics, which truly do sound like the harried utterances of a broken soul. Oh yeah, and Tha Outlawz are kinda boring. Okay, they're really fucking boring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2011? I had a feeling that you just started listening to rap Lol..

      Delete
    2. You're 21? That explains a shit-ton.

      Delete
    3. I think most people who frequent this site are quite young. That's just the impression I get, anyway.

      But on an unrelated note, revisiting Just Like Daddy and Blasphemy was quite enjoyable. I REALLY like the production on this album; I guess that hasn't changed for me. Hail Mary is awesome, too. But yeah, the lyrics in general are redundant Pac fare. If 2Pac could have harnessed his MATW enthusiasm, something I think he was on the verge of doing before he died, and unleashed that over production like this—oh man, that would have been awesome. I think he had one more great album in him.

      Thinking about his death still makes me sick. Such a tragedy, and I mean that in the conventional tragic sense. If only someone were to write a tragedy about his demise...

      Delete
    4. What about Krazy Michael? Still makes you cry? Haha I'm 16 so I can vouch for your point

      Delete
    5. That song *did* make me cry. But then again I was an emotionally volatile teenager when I first heard it, probably around 14. Listening to it now... umm, I still think it's good, just a bit sappy.

      Delete
  3. Erm, Max why is there a label called A+ and there is nothing there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually share Dave's concern, since The Latch-Key Child deserves MUCH more attention than Pac's final piffle will EVER earn.

      Delete
    2. I don't think even A+ thinks that way, but it turns out it's a problem with Blogger not recognizing the "plus" sign in his name. I've since updated it to the unruly "A Plus (non-Hiero)" to avoid confusion with the obvious.

      Delete
  4. I agree with this review. I actually like the Makavelli Pt. 2 mixtape over this one. my favorite Pac album is Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A'z with Me Against The World right after it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never actually listened to any of the Makaveli mixtapes. Is there anything specific that any of you two would recommend is worthy of a listen?

      Delete
  5. "Hurt-M-Badd"

    Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think this review is on point for sure. But pac was on some next level shit in that third verse on Blasphemy. "Mama tell me am I wrong, is god just another cop waiting to beat my ass If i don't go pop?" That is a powerful line that speaks volumes of black history/experience in christian america, from slavery to the present day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shut the fuck up.

      Delete
  7. You certainly are on a rampage of harsh critic lately. Between you and Michaels reviews Im inclined to agree most with the last mentiond.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So you have a issue with the album because it was rushed? How the fuck could album have no direction. Did all those Wu albums you overhype have direction? You had your mind made up before you wrote this review, be honest dude...Pac was focused on here, your constant hate for West Coast rap is cringeworthy. Or this is a shock post to get more comments because nobody cares about those other horrible you wrote recently. Pac is the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your opinion was moot to me the moment I read your username.

      Delete
  9. I agree with most of your opinions on this album except your trashing of "To Live and Die in L.A." and "White Manz World" which I are much more complete and better songs than anything else on here. Although to enjoy the latter you'd have to get over the fact that it interpolates Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes' "Up Where We Belong" from the "An officer and a gentleman" soundtrack, which is definitely one of the lamest things ever.

    By the way does anyone else think Aaron Hall and producer Demetrius Shipp, both former associates of Teddy Riley's, got on "Toss It Up" to fuck with their former boss just like 2pac's only reason for creating the song was to piss off Dr. Dre?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah. Nobody in the music industry is that petty. *side eye*

      Delete
  10. "which make 2Pac sound like a rapping serial killer who believes he is doing God's work"
    lol

    ReplyDelete
  11. All 2 Pac albums are shit . There is good tunes on each his albums up to this you just have to dig threw ahit.The Outlawz remind me.of Group Home over shitter beats.

    ReplyDelete
  12. For me, reading Max's review of this album was like finding out Big Bird was a puppet and not in fact real. When I saw you'd reviewed this I was like 'yeah, Max will love this!, it's one of my favourite albums!' then you battered the album. You've retroactively altered my perception of this album. I was upset to say the least haha

    ReplyDelete
  13. "My true motherf--kers know this be the realest sh!t I ever wrote"

    ReplyDelete
  14. Point is it's certainly not a classic album. Out of 12 songs, I like 5, Bomb First, Hail Mary, Toss It Up, Blasphemy, Against All Odds. I don't blame Pac, he was going through shit and you can't make an actual album in just one week, but people shouldn't lend it greater esteem just because it's Pac.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is not a classic IMO. I liked three songs out of the 12 (Bomb First, Hail Mary, Against All Odds.) I honestly don't think Pac has any "classics" although MATW is pretty close

    ReplyDelete
  16. The moment I fell in love with hip hop was in 1998 I was 7 years old and saw the 'do for love' video on TV (you know the animated one) I remember being mesmerised by the beat and womens voice on the hook. I owe 2pac alot he introduced me to hip hop, one of my greatest passions in life. This is far from his best work but is a bit better than you give it credit for. 'white mans world' and 'krazy' are two of his most heartfelt introspective songs, i've always been partial to 'to live and die in la' as well. I know you (quite rightly) probably won't bother with his countless posthumous releases, however I think R u still down (remember me) and better dayz might be worth a write up?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pac has more posthumous releases than he did when he was alive, which is a daunting task, and sort of pointless, since we'll never know how he actually wanted to present any of that work to the public, but as of right now I'm still undecided.

      Delete
    2. If you ever do decide to, R U Still Down is the highlight. Also, Until the End of Time and Still I Rise (with Tha Outlawz) have their bright spots, though are nowhere near as good as RUSD; If I had to pick one out of those three, it would be R U Still Down. It's comprised of pre-Death Row material, if that means anything. And I agree with Anon above that Do For Love is a FANTASTIC song. I always seem to forget about its greatness. That's an example of posthumous material handled CORRECTLY. I'm gonna listen to it right now, actually.

      And if in your spare time you ever get around to listening to Pac's untampered with Death Row demos, check out the original Until the End of Time—quite good. Also Tattoo Tearz, Letter 2 My Unborn, etc. A lot of those tracks are awesome.

      Delete
    3. "Pac has more posthumous releases than he did when he was alive" surely you meant to say : Pac has more releases posthumous than he had alive?

      Delete
  17. Outlawz is the west coast Infamous Mobb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that's not fair. The Infamous Mobb actually have a few good songs under their collective belt.

      Delete
    2. And an out of print highly sought after underground gem that I found for $4 the other day! High five!

      Delete
    3. I think Special Edition is a very good album. Tha Outlawz never made an album worth a quarter-loaf.

      Delete
  18. Im surprised you trash the production on this record - I find myself coming back to this album coz its utterly unique, almost pagan sounding, the only thing that comes close to its evil vibes is some of yeezus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pagan..., that's actually a wonderful way to put it. It's the dark ambiance of the whole record that gives it its strongest quality. Hmm, yes. The production is seductively dark.

      Delete
    2. Maybe "Hail Mary", but nothing else on here sounds "pagan" to me. And is it weird that I kind of feel that comparing the production on here to Yeezus is doing a bit of a disservice to Makaveli's producers? (I really didn't care for Yeezus.)

      Delete
    3. "Hail Mary" can't be pagan because it has a church bell in it and, you know, hails Mary.

      Delete
    4. Should have included that in my comment: I think the Yeezus comparison is inaccurate. I find Yeezus a dreadful listen.

      Delete
    5. Yeezus is one of a kind album, you can't say that about this Pac album

      Delete
  19. By the way if anyone wants to know what "Me Ang My Girlfriend" sounds like without that shouty lady on it or with Beyoncé refusing to sing "Bloody": bon appétit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CfAo-mMo7A

    ReplyDelete
  20. Does anyone know why Hussein Fatal isn't anywhere to be found on this album? He was the only one in tha Outlawz I remember having actual mic skills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought he was on here breifly (uncredited)?

      Delete
    2. If he's on there, I didn't hear him.

      Delete
  21. I bought the remastered version for 1 buck and i still feel ripped off. The crazy thing about 2pac stans is that a lot of them haven't even heard a pac album in its entirety. They just buy into this superthug/misunderstood genius persona that he and that sentimental bullshit of a documentary "Ressurection" helped create.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Max, your 2pac sneering is what I like least about your blog. It's like you saw a bunch of annoying 2pac fans on a message board in 2002 and have been a mission to take 2pac down a notch ever since.

    This is the only website I've ever seen AEOM and Makavell get slammed. I've seen people argue they're not classics, that they have flaws, sure. But I've never seem get outright dismissed. They're great albums, or at the very least, good. How can you be a hip hop fan, and not like most of these songs? Is it a "I hate what's popular thing"? That's a mentality for teenagers. Going around saying Obscure Rapper is real hip hop, but Popular Rapper is...it's so lame.

    The same criticism you give to Pac, could be easily given to your pet artists, like Jay-Z and (insert Wu-Tang rapper here). But they get a pass, for whatever reason.

    I mean, you're going to say that fricken Shyheim and Sunz Of Man and Walter the Wu-Walrus are worth a spin, but fricken 2pac's most popular albums aren't? These albums that millions of rap fans love...you're going to treat it like Macklemore or Chingy LPs?

    Yeah, we all love Me Against The World, but AEOM and Makavelli are awfully close to it. They're in the same galaxy.

    It's all good for Ghost & Jay & Big & Jada to put out gangster rap, but fuck 2pac for doing it. It's all good for Wu-Tang to make hundreds of songs that don't stick to a topic, but fuck 2pac for doing it. Let the grudge go, man. 2pac worship is over. The armies of ignorant annoying 2pac fans claiming he's "the GOAT, fact"...they don't exist anymore. It's like a storm of negativity, every 2pac review, and it's weird. Please don't review the posthomous albums. We already know what you're going to say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me Against The World is 2Pac's peak. I'm not saying he wouldn't have eventually topped it, but there's no way that All Eyez On Me was anywhere close to it. That bloated double-disc affair was overstuffed with filler, and the Makaveli project was pretty much the goddamn same.

      I'm not a contrarian for contrary's sake. I didn't like either one of those albums you're championing. Getting upset with someone's opinion is a losing cause, because you'll never really get anything out of it. Expressing your own opinion, though, is the whole point of the blog, so if you really love All Eyez On Me, then keep loving it. Nobody's going to tell you not to.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  23. Speaking of "Me Against the World", I've reviewed it, as well as "Thug Life: Volume 1" on my own blog recently.

    You can read a review of the former here http://digginginthacrates.com/2014/09/30/2pac-me-against-the-world/
    and of the latter here
    http://digginginthacrates.com/2014/09/25/thug-life-thug-life-volume-1/

    also I tackled the solo album by Johnny "J", 2pac's producer on those albums and "All Eyez On Me". You can read that here
    http://digginginthacrates.com/2014/09/22/johnny-j-i-gotta-be-me/

    ReplyDelete
  24. Max, regarding the news clip at the beginning of Live & Die, that was originally on Watch Ya Mouth, and I guess Pac like it so it was moved when Watch Ya Mouth was left off the album in mastering (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T95XC2DQR-w). He disses Nas numerous times on this track too.

    Check out 3 Day Theory, which was apparantly Pac's original vision for the album and contained the earlier versions of beats (http://www.datpiff.com/Makaveli-The-Don-Killuminatithe-3-Day-Theory-mixtape.131172.html).

    ReplyDelete
  25. That datpiff link for 3 Day Theory is not the real 3 Day Theory. It is pretty easily found with a Google search though.

    ReplyDelete