Unveiling the mystique surrounding 2Pac is good. He gets looked at as such a monolith in the culture that I think it turns people away from analyzing his works.
2Pac is heralded for his delivery, true-to-life rhymes, storytelling, and his ability to sound comfortable on any type of song. Chameleon-like. 2Pac was murdered at the age of 25 but he left us one of the best discographies in Hip-Hop.
2Pac’s Best Albums
Pac’s signature “aggressive” albums are the double album All Eyez On Me and The 7 Day Theory. Me Against the World is great and comparable too. It is very socially aware like 7 Day Theory with the same aggression, but just directed at other things like the government and not other rappers. All Eyez on Me is my favorite Pac album despite these 2 great ones.
“This is why Pac is a GOAT”
This is why Pac is a GOAT. His three notoriously classic albums all give you a different offering of emotions and vibes. Me Against the World is pro-Black and socio-political, All Eyez On Me is full of West Coast G-Funk vibes, and The 7 Day Theory is raw emotion on wax.
Pac’s first 2 albums are also worth mentioning because they’re really good, but some songs sound dated whereas songs on MATW, 7 Day Theory, and AEOM do not suffer that issue. For example, “Keep Ya Head Up” off Strictly 4 album sounds noticeably better in terms of production and engineering than everything else on the album.
Me Against The World
MATW was Pac’s first great album and is usually the album (East Coast) Hip-Hop critics laud as his best album (because it was before he started beefing with East Coast artists). MATW is laced in East Coast influence, particularly in it’s production, with credits from Easy Mo Bee.
MATW is more politically inclined and cohesive than his other classic albums and a huge step in quality than his albums prior (2pacalypse, Strictly 4…). It’s like everything Pac was trying to do on his first 2 albums with “Trapped” and “Brenda’s Got A Baby” in terms of socio-politics and storytelling was perfected on Me Against the World.
All Eyez On Me
All Eyez on Me is different in style to MATW, there’s a thicker presence of West Coast and G-Funk and it’s the first Pac album with Dre, Daz, DJ Quik, and Johnny J production. AEOM is also noticeably more blatantly aggressive than MATW, influenced by the West Coast scene at the time and the East/West Hip-Hop feud. AEOM is the Pac most people recognize; it’s a double album and damn near every song is recognizable or a classic. It’s the best rap double album of all-time imo.
On disc 1 there’s maybe 1 song that can’t be considered as one of Pac’s recognizable classics, Same thing on Disc 2. 27 songs on a double album and 20 years later all but 2 or 3 songs are Hip-Hop classics. Recording songs back to back with little breaks, completing multiple songs in 1 day, all day studio session, freestyling/one-taking entire songs – these are common practices in Hip-Hop today that 2Pac perfected in the AEOM sessions. My fav Pac album.
I did a review on it in 2010 when I was trying to educate myself on Hip-Hop classics. It’s not very good but it highlights some of the best songs on AEOM.
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
7 Day Theory is Pac’s most menacing and aggressive album. It’s even more aggressive than All Eyez On Me. Songs like “Hail Mary” and “Bomb First” give the album an eerie, vengeful vibe. The album is contrasted by songs like “To Live & Die in LA” and “White Man’z World“give you Pac’s signature familiar, comforting undertone.
7 Day Theory is raw emotion on wax. There aren’t many albums that are capable of catching whole moments and emotions – 7 Day Theory is a screenshot into Pac’s world and mind at that time.
Thug Life Vol. 1
Pac’s group album Thug Life Vol. 1 often gets overlooked but it’s one of the better group albums you’ll hear in Hip-Hop. I consider it a classic. Which gives Pac 4 classic albums and a whole lot of classic songs, interviews, and moments. Bury Me A G, Pour Out a Little Liquor, How Long Will They Mourn Me (feat Nate Dogg), Str8 Ballin and Cradle to the Grave off Thug Life Vol. 1 are some of the best songs in his stacked discog.