Note: This review was written in June of 2018.
This album was released on September 26th in 1994. It’s the only project ever released by Thug Life, which was a Hip Hop group consisting of 2Pac, Big Syke, Macadoshis, Mopreme, The Rated R, and Stretch. I’m going into this review completely blind. I’ve never heard any of the songs. I didn’t even know it was a thing until a few months ago. I’m not sure how I’m gonna feel about it. I’m pretty sure the reception was decent, but I’m not the biggest Pac fan, so I doubt I’ll be blown away. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it though.
1. Bury Me a G performed by 2Pac, Mopreme, The Rated R, Big Syke & Macadoshis featuring Natasha Walker produced by Thug Music
2. Don’t Get It Twisted performed by Mopreme, The Rated R & Macadoshis produced by Professor Jay & Mopreme
3. Shit Don’t Stop featuring 2Pac, Mopreme, The Rated R, Big Syke & Macadoshis featuring Y?N-Vee. produced by Thug Music
4. Pour Out a Little Liquor performed by 2Pac produced by Johnny “J”
5. Stay True performed by 2Pac, Mopreme & Stretch produced by Thug Music
6. How Long Will They Mourn Me? performed by 2Pac, The Rated R, Big Syke & Macadoshis featuring Nate Dogg produced by Warren G & Professor Jay
7. Under Pressure performed by 2Pac & Stretch produced by Thug Music
8. Street Fame performed by Mopreme, The Rated R & Big Syke produced by Stretch & Professor Jay
9. Cradle to the Grave performed by 2Pac, Mopreme, The Rated R, Big Syke & Macadoshis produced by Big Syke & Professor Jay
10. Str8 Ballin’ performed by 2Pac produced by Easy Mo Bee
The first track samples For the Love of You by The Isley Brothers. It’s got a pretty good beat. The first verse from 2Pac is more of what I’d normally expect from him. Mopreme isn’t really that different from Pac stylistically. The Rated R & Macadoshis’ verses were average. I like Big Syke’s huskier voice though. The final verse from Pac was funny. He rapped about only lasting 10 minutes while having sex with a two dollar prostitute. He wasn’t exactly painting the most appealing picture. It was dope though. Natasha Walker sang her ass off in the background. Don’t Get It Twisted is gangsta af. The production is kind of simplistic, but it’s not bad. The Rated R definitely had the most entertaining verse in my opinion. His delivery was the most interesting. Mopreme had the best verse when it comes to the lyrics though. Nothing about the song makes it stand out that much. It’s honestly just another generic gangsta rap song.
I wasn’t feelin’ the feature from Y?N-Vee on Shit Don’t Stop. The beat was decent though, and Pac did his thing. I like how Macadoshis & The Rated R and Mopreme & Big Syke were trading bars together on the second and third verses respectively. It’s a decent song. I like it a little more than the song it follows, but I’d still never listen to it again.
On Pour Out a Little Liquor, Johnny “J” used the same sample that 9th Wonder used on Baby Cry. The song is all about paying respect to those who have passed away. It’s pretty good. Pac’s flow was nothing special though. Stay True is definitely one of the best songs on the album. It honestly could’ve been the title track if they changed the name. Stretch’s verse was great, and the production was dope af. It’s one of the more upbeat songs on the project.
How Long Will They Mourn Me? is a pretty good song. The featured vocals from Nate Dogg are great, and each MC did a pretty good job. They all have really similar flows, so I don’t really have a favorite verse. Big Syke has the deepest voice, and the Rated R has the most aggressive delivery. The beat on Under Pressure is really hard. The song is gangsta as hell. Stretch killed his verse. There’s not much to say about the song. It’s just a typical Gangsta Rap song. It’s dope. Street Fame is an okay song. The production’s kinda cool. It’s all about gaining notoriety. I guess I can kinda relate. I’m known as the backpacker with depression, PTSD & psychosis. That’s my reputation right now. Padlock Jones is just known as a “dumb coon” unfortunately. It’s actually pretty sad.
The production on Cradle to the Grave is really nice. I’m not sure who the hook is performed by, but whoever that is has a decent set of vocals. None of the verses really jumped out at me as being particularly astounding. It’s an entertaining enough song though. I fuck with it. The final song, Str8 Ballin’, inspired the ScHoolboy Q song of the same name. The beat from Easy Mo Bee is legendary. It’s a mid-tempo song about how 2Pac wants to be “ballin’.” In other words, he wants to be rich as fuck like Lil Wayne. It’s a dope song.
This album is dope. Some people call it an underground classic. I don’t know about that. It seems like kind of a reach. It’s a cool album though. Definitely not something you’d wanna miss out on if you’re a huge fan of Tupac. However, if you’ve never been into him at all, this thing’ll do absolutely nothing to change your opinion of him. In fact, you’ll probably hate this more than most of Pac’s albums because every other member of the group is more uninteresting and nondescript than the last. Nobody even remembers The Rated R. There’s a reason you never hear about him anymore. Well, part of it probably has something to do with the fact that he’s actually in prison right now. I’m just trying to say that none of these dudes were really that engaging on the mic, especially in comparison with Pac. I did enjoy this album overall though. I can’t say I’m disappointed that we never got another Thug Life album because it’s really not that great. I do like it to some extent though. It’s good.
Favorite Song: Stay True
Least Favorite Song: Street Fame
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album