This week, we’re paying tribute to 2Pac Shakur — a true pioneer in the rap game.
*Note: These videos are NSFW. The language employed by Shakur is rather colorful. If you’re listening in the office, make sure you’ve got your headphones in.
1. Life Goes On
“Life Goes On” is one of 2Pac’s most emotional and thoughtful songs. Featured on the critically acclaimed album All Eyez on Me, the track pays tribute to his deceased friends. It also delves into self-reflection — as well as his own mortality going forward.
The social commentary certainly relates to those who’ve been embattled by poverty and violence. In a sense, 2Pac is providing a voice for these people.
2. California Love
“California Love” is an anthem many from the state absolutely love. This passionate and exuberant jam gets people elated at the mere sound of the song.
When looking at the actual video, there’s plenty in the way of creativity and aesthetics. Plus…how great is Chris Tucker?
3. I Get Around
At the height of his popularity, 2Pac was a global icon. He commanded both respect and power with his unbelievable gifts. Additionally, 2Pac was certainly a fixture with the ladies.
This song — and video — speak about his love of the opposite sex. The lighthearted feel of this jam fits perfectly with the summer months. Duly, who wouldn’t want to party poolside with ‘Pac?
4. Only God Can Judge Me
2Pac gets heavy with this track. He speaks about the distrust he feels from not only parts of his inner circle, but also the media. Being in the limelight, 2Pac is left vulnerable to constant criticism from multiple platforms.
The rapper simply offers one overriding sentiment: “Only God Can Judge Me.”
“Changes” conjures up a harmonious vibe — offering hope despite the ever-present veil of reality and strife.
It’s most definitely an uplifting track. Not only is 2Pac preaching about togetherness, but he’s also trying to push a progressive feel with those beset by a myriad of issues.
6. Hail Mary
“Hail Mary” holds a special place within the discography of 2Pac’s career. This was the final single released by the rapper. It came from The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory — which ended up also being his last album before his unfortunate death.
In this track, 2Pac takes on more of a religious feel. From a lyric standpoint, this is regarded by many to be 2Pac’s best bit of writing.
7. Hit ‘Em Up
“Hit ‘Em Up” may be the most vicious and hateful diss tracks in the history of rap. We all know about the contentious history between 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.
In the video, the vitriolic anthem uses a caricature of Biggie Smalls. Based upon the jabbing lyrics, 2Pac definitely isn’t pulling any punches.
8. Dear Mama
The love for his mother completely shone here — as 2Pac penned this tribute to the person who gave him life. An unabated love and appreciation is completely present with this track.
2Pac speaks freely about the hardships each faced during his younger years. His transparency is commendable — as is the perspective he’s garnered from these experiences.
9. Thugz Mansion (acoustic)
“Thugz Mansion” was a track released nearly six years after 2Pac’s death in 1996. This piece of art features complementary vocals from the likes of Nas, J. Phoenix, and Young Noble.
2Pac envisioned his idyllic Heaven — a place where those muddled in trouble could essentially exhale and live life without stress. Many prominent African-American figures (Marvin Gaye, Malcolm X, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday) were mentioned.
10. Keep Ya Head Up
A true microcosm of inspiration, “Keep Ya Head Up” speaks to 2Pac’s plea for those in unfortunate situations to stay positive. It’s almost as if a self-help book was transformed into a beautiful (and powerful) track.
If in need of a pick-me-up, this song will suffice quite nicely.
Main Image Source: YouTube