Album Of The Week: Tupac’s 'All Eyez on Me'
Tupac’s All Eyez on Me was originally released February 13, 1996, less than a year after his acclaimed Me Against the World LP and four months after Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight and Interscope Co-Founder Jimmy Iovine bailed him out of prison after serving nine months for a sexual assault conviction. All Eyez on Me paved the way for Biggie’s Life After Death and Wu-Tang Forever, as the first hip-hop double album ever released.
The album is a lot to to take on, where out of 27 tracks, only two are under four minutes long. Put together in only two weeks, it shows Pac in his rawest and most audacious form, spitting fire from deep within his heart and soul.
According to many accounts he had recorded the first verse of “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” within about 45 minutes of walking in the door of Can-Am Studios. This song is an ominous return to making music, about the album Pac said “You’re going to feel the entire 11 months of what I went through [in prison] on this album. I’m venting my anger.” Chuck Phillips of the L.A. Times
The first single off All Eyez On Me was the Dr. Dre collaboration “California Love” featuring funk pioneer Roger Troutman. The song originally was meant to go on a Dr. Dre solo album called The Chronic II: A New World Odor (Poppa’s Got A Brand New Funk), but that album was never released. “California Love” became the No. 1 single in the country, and All Eyez On Me the No. 1 album.
In “Wonda Why They Call U Bitch,” Pac is concerned about a female friend and chastises her for having too much sex, it’s a rather mysogynistic song hiding behind the vocals provided by Faith Evans, Notorious B.I.G.’s wife. This is important because at this time the most infamous music feud in modern history had begun between B.I.G and Shakur, who claimed B.I.G. and Sean “Puffy” Combs had ordered a hit where he was robbed and shot five times at the same New York studio they were recording at. Combined with the fact that during Tupac’s time in prison, Biggie Smalls had released the song “Who Shot Ya?”, of which he claimed was recorded months before the attack, Tupac had already slid into a deep paranoia. This feud escalated with Pac’s “Hit ’Em Up”, where he begins with , “I fucked your bitch you fat motherfucker.”
For sentimental value, Tupac throws in “Life Goes On,” where he pays homage to his fallen friends and comrades, while presciently confronting his own mortality, and “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” about Gs who went straight. “How Do U Want It,” featuring K-Ci & JoJo, Shakur raps about the insatiable sex drive that had landed him in jail and on “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” with Snoop Dogg, he raps about wanting faster cars, more money, and more dangerous guns, and having the best parties, living the true thug lifestyle.
All Eyez On Me captures the true essence of 2Pac, His vulnerability, his fears, his trials, his tribulations and cements his position as one of the most influential rappers of all time.
by Tomisin Akins