Album of the Week- 2pac’s “Me and Against the World”
Album of the Week- Tupac’s “Me and Against the World”
By DJ Daggash
Our Album of the Week was released on 14th March, 1995, while Tupac was in prison but recorded when he was awaiting prison sentence. It is Tupac’s most introspective album. The album is Tupac’s best album, in our opinion. Though “All Eyez on Me” was more successful, commercial wise. Me Against the World debuted at Number 1 on Billboard and held that position for 4 weeks. It was certified double platinum (sold over 2m records) and got nominated for the Best Rap Album at the 38th Grammy Awards. Tupac’s thought on the album is insightful:
“Me Against the World was really to show people that this is an art to me. That I do take it like that. And whatever mistakes I make, I make out of ignorance, not out of disrespect to music or the art. So Me Against the World was deep, reflective. It was like a blues record. It was down-home. It was all my fears, all the things I just couldn’t sleep about. Everybody thought that I was living so well and doing so good that I wanted to explain it. And it took a whole album to get it all out. It’s explaining my lifestyle, who I am, my upbringing and everything. It talks about the streets but talks about it in a different light. There’s a song on there dedicated to mothers, just a song I wrote for my mother. And it digs deeper like that. I just wanted to do something for all mothers. I’m proud of that song. It affected a lot of people.”
Apple Music’s description of the album is equally interesting: “On his third album, the stressed-out California poet turned a critical eye from his bleak surroundings to his own conflicted psyche. Me Against the World marks 2Pac’s official shift from gangsta to philosopher, sacrificing none of the rebellion. He imparts bittersweet brotherly advice over glossy G-funk (“Young N****z”), spits sincere thug love ballads (“Temptations”) and dodges haunting premonitions of his own death on the bluesy “So Many Tears”. And then there’s “Dear Mama”, the best rap song about moms ever made.”
This album means a lot to me, it’s the closest to my life’s mission statement: courage, love, living your truth, love of mother, awareness of mortality. I met the album in 1995 and we are still good buddies. One of the most socially conscious and impactful rap albums. “If I Die 2night” gave me courage and fearlessness: “a coward dies a thousand deaths/a soldier dies but once” would give balls and liver any day. “Dear Mama” is timeless. The song would give you goose bumps, if you have any feeling for your old girl. “So Many Tears” is the kind of track you want to listen to when the times are hard and you are reminiscing on your struggles. “Can You Get Away” is the best side guy and comforter anthem.
“Temptation” is an accoster/apprehender/toaster inspiration “Tell me baby are you lonely? Don’t wanna to rush ya, I could only help you if you let me…”.
And, “It Ain’t Easy” is a very soulful song: “I take a shot of hennessy now I am strong enough to face the man/…Phone calls from my niggas from the other side, two childhood friends just died/a damn shame/when would we ever change? …My baby mama got a mind full of silly games/and all the drama got me stressing like I am hopeless”. I can go on. The whole Album is packed full of gem. All 15 tracks are good. No dud track.
In sum, the whole album is about “keeping it real” regardless of the challenges of life and having fun along the way. Be true to yourself. It touched on every major aspect of life: struggles, love for mothers, romance, and advice to the young ones to drop the guns.
 Tupac, Karolyn Ali and Jacob Hoye, 2003, Page 166