Note: This review was written in December of 2018.
This album was released on February 13th in 1996. This was the last album to be released by 2Pac while he was still alive. I’m just gonna be honest, y’all… I don’t think I’m gonna like this shit. I know a lot of people consider this to be one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time. I don’t think I’m gonna be one of them people. It all comes down to one particular issue that I see before even listening… This album is 2 hours and 13 minutes long. It’s very rare that I actually enjoy double albums. I don’t wanna listen to ANY artist for that long. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think this is gonna be bad. I just don’t think it’ll be good to me. I’m sure there’ll be a decent amount of material that I like though. I’ll be shocked if there isn’t. Seriously if he manages to keep my attention and consistently impress me over a span of 133 minutes, I will be absolutely stunned. Anyway, this is probably 2Pac’s most popular album. It’s between this and Me Against the World I think. So yeah. Hopefully this is better than I’m expecting it to be.
1. Ambitionz Az a Ridah produced by Daz Dillinger
This is one of the few songs from this album I’ve heard already. First of all, the production from Daz Dillinger is amazing. This song has one of the catchiest beats 2Pac ever rapped over. Pac’s hook is pretty damn catchy too. I love the way he says “My ambitions as a RIDAH” at the beginning of the track. It sounds really damn good. Pac actually rapped really well on this track too. All three of the verses are really great. I don’t have any issues with this song at all. I DO however have an issue with a song by Fat Joe called Pick It Up that happens to sample this track.
Y’all… This bullshit ass Fat Joe track is one of the worst songs I’ve heard in 2018. I remember I first heard it when I was in the mental hospital, and it probably extended my time there by at least a week. I couldn’t fucking believe that they had taken this classic beat from a legendary 2Pac song and turned into a corny strip club track. They damn near ruined the original song for me because now every time I hear the beat, I also hear Dre in my head saying “POP DAT PUSSY, PICK IT UP.” Words can’t express how fucking angry that song makes me. Smh. Anyway, the original song by 2Pac is dope af. However, the Fat Joe song is fucking dogshit.
2. All About U featuring Nate Dogg, Hussein Fatal, Yaki Kadafi & Snoop Dogg produced by Johnny “J” & 2Pac
This song has another really great beat. It’s really lighthearted and upbeat sounding. The first verse from Pac was pretty good. The hook from Nate Dogg is cool I guess. The content of this song isn’t really that interesting to me, but I think Pac executed it well. His second verse wasn’t bad. I’m not crazy about the verses from Yaki Kadafi & Hussein Fatal, but they were okay I guess. Snoop Dogg really did not need to be on this song at all. He just speaks at the end, and basically repeats everything that was already said by 2Pac. I like this song. I don’t think it’s as good as the previous track, but I enjoyed it. It’s dope.
3. Skandalouz featuring Nate Dogg produced by Daz Dillinger
The beat on this track is pretty good. The content of this song doesn’t really interest me that much personally. I guess the first verse from Pac was fine, even though he rhymed the word “homie” with “homies” at one point. The hook from Nate Dogg is solid. The second verse was fine. I liked the third verse. Ehh… I mean, I kind of enjoyed this song, but I really don’t see myself coming back to it in the future to be honest. I liked the production, but nothing else about the song really impresses me. It’s definitely not a bad song. I just don’t really care for it personally.
4. Got My Mind Made Up featuring Tha Dogg Pound, Method Man & Redman produced by Daz Dillinger
This is definitely the most intriguing song in the tracklist for me. The beat from Daz is pretty dope, and he did a really nice job with the first verse. This song probably has one of the best verses I’ve heard from Pac. That honestly isn’t really saying that much because Pac has never really impressed me that much as a rapper. His verse was really good here though. The hook from Method Man is very simplistic, but it gets the job done. Kurupt killed the third verse. I feel like people don’t bring him up enough when they’re talking about great rappers. He’s really fuckin’ good. Method Man’s verse was pretty good, but that line about Hitler was kind of odd to me. It’s not a good look to compare yourself to mass murdering dictators. Especially if you’re acting like any similarities are a good thing. Redman killed the final verse. I think Kurupt & Redman had the best performances on this track. 2Pac definitely held his own though. Every verse on this track is good. I don’t have any issues with this song at all. This is my favorite track so far. It’s dope af.
5. How Do U Want It featuring K-Ci & JoJo produced by Johnny “J”
Ehhh… Yeah… Nah… This isn’t for me. I don’t think this is a bad song, but I’d be lying if I said I wanted to hear it again. The hook from K-Ci & JoJo is fine. It doesn’t really do anything for me though. I don’t really care for the content of this song either. As soon as I heard the first two lines from Pac I knew I wasn’t gonna like this song.
I love the way you activate your hips and push your ass out
Got a nigga wantin’ it so bad, I’m about to pass out
This is just so boring to me. I feel like I’ve already heard this song a million times. The second verse was definitely more enjoyable than the first verse for me, but it’s still not really good enough to make me like the song. The final verse didn’t really impress me. I’m never gonna listen to this again. This is easily my least favorite song on the album so far. I don’t think it’s bad, but I personally wouldn’t call this good at all. It’s just okay to me.
6. 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted featuring Snoop Dogg produced by 2Pac & Daz Dillinger
This is another one of the few tracks that I’ve already heard from this album. I think this is one of the best songs on the album so far. The way Pac & Snoop are trading verses on this shit is awesome. They sound really great together. Their flows are really nice on this track. I don’t mind the hook at all. I think I liked Pac’s performance on this track more than Snoop’s, but they both did a really great job. I don’t have any issues with this song at all. The beat isn’t amazing or anything, but it’s pretty good. Pac & Snoop did a great job with this track. It’s dope af.
7. No More Pain produced by DeVante Swing
This song has one of my favorite beats on the album so far. I think I like it even more than the Ambitionz Az a Ridah beat. It sounds really dark. Pac sounds really good over it too. The first verse is dope. The hook is nice too. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks so far. The second verse was great. The final verse was really good too. I don’t have any issues with this track at all. I like everything about it. The production is fantastic, the hook is nice, and the verses are all really good. This shit is dope af.
8. Heartz of Men produced by DJ Quik
The beat on this track from DJ Quik is really good. Pac’s flow on the first verse is really great. I like the simplistic hook too. There’s a sample of Richard Pryor speaking in the background. I’m gonna be honest. Richard Pryor’s stand up doesn’t make me laugh at all. It’s just really not funny to me. I understand that he’s one of the greatest comedians of all time, but I personally just don’t find him funny. I’m more of a Dave Chappelle guy. Anyway, I don’t really have any issues with this song. I really like the production from DJ Quik, and Pac’s flow is great on this track. I wasn’t blown away like I was with some of the other songs, but it’s a really dope song. I fuck with this.
9. Life Goes On produced by Johnny “J” & 2Pac
I kinda like this beat. It sounds a bit melodramatic though. The first verse from Pac was cool. He rhymed “Hennessy” with “memories” instead of “enemies.” The hook is nothing special, but it works. This is a really emotional track. I see a lot of pussy niggas talking about how it made them cry. That’s mad embarrassing. Lmao. I don’t really have much to say about this track. It’s far from my favorite song on the album, but I enjoyed it to some extent. All of the verses are solid. I just feel like it’s a little too dramatic for me. It’s a cool track though. I fuck with it.
10. Only God Can Judge Me featuring Rappin’ 4-Tay produced by Doug Rasheed & Harold Scrap Freddie
The beat on this track is pretty dope. The first verse from Pac was cool. This song definitely has one of the catchiest hooks on the whole album so far. The background vocalist used a talk box vocal effect, and it actually sounds pretty good. I usually don’t like that effect, but it works really well here. The way they incorporated the EKG sound effect at the beginning of the second verse was really cool. I can see how it could be annoying to some people, but I liked it. The second verse was really dope. I’m not really familiar with Rappin’ 4-Tay, but he did his thing on the final verse. I think this is a pretty good song. I don’t really have any issues with it. It’s not amazing or anything, but I like it. This is dope.
11. Tradin’ War Stories featuring Kastro, E.D.I. Mean, C-Bo, Napoleon & Storm produced by Rick Rock & Mike Mosley
The beat on this track is pretty good. The hook from Pac is really simplistic, but it works. His verse at the beginning was cool. Kastro & E.D.I. Mean’s verses weren’t bad. Their flows seemed a little shaky at times though. C-Bo’s verse was actually really goddamn nice. His flow and delivery were dope. Napoleon & Storm’s verses were fine. The way Storm pronounced the word “mind” was kinda strange. It sounded more like “moind.” It’s not that big of a deal though. This is one of the more underwhelming songs on the album so far, but I still enjoyed it to a certain extent. It’s just not as entertaining as a lot of the other tracks. I like it though. It’s dope.
12. California Love (Remix) featuring Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman produced by Dr. Dre
The original version of this song is probably 2Pac’s most popular song. It’s between that and Hit ‘Em Up. I guess Hail Mary is up there too. I definitely prefer the original over this remix. I don’t know why they decided to only put the remix on the album. Oh. I just googled it. Apparently the original version was supposed to be on Dr. Dre’s album, The Chronic II, which obviously never came out. That’s unfortunate. Anyway, this version of the song is still enjoyable to some extent. I think the first verse from Dr. Dre is really great. I don’t know who wrote it. Please leave a comment saying who it was if you happen to know.
Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west
That’s a really great opening line. The hook from Roger Troutman is catchy as hell. It’s probably one of the catchiest hooks on a Hip Hop song ever. Pac fucking killed his verse. I love the way he started it.
Out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreaming
Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearing hoochies screaming
His flow on these lines are fucking awesome. The one issue I have with this track is the bridge where Roger Troutman says “shake it, shake it, baby.” I fucking despise when artists tell people to “shake it.” I don’t know why. It just makes me cringe so fucking much. I didn’t even like when Andre 3000 did it on Hey Ya. Other than that this is really good. I don’t think the remix is “dope af” though. The original is, but not the remix. This version is solid though. I like it.
13. I Ain’t Mad at Cha featuring Danny Boy produced by Daz Dillinger
I really love the production on this track. It sounds pretty emotional. The first verse is really good. He’s rapping about how he grew apart from one of his old friends. Goddamn. Danny Boy sounds amazing on the hook. He has a really good voice. He sang his motherfuckin’ ass off. The second verse from Pac is pretty good. The final verse is dope too. This is a really good track. In fact, I actually think it’s one of the best songs on the whole album so far. The production is great, the content is actually interesting, and Danny Boy did a fantastic job with the hook. This shit is dope af.
14. What’s Ya Phone # featuring Danny Boy produced by Johnny “J” & 2Pac
This is the final song from the first disc of the album. I’m not really sure how I feel about the beat honestly. It’s really fast paced. I don’t really like it honestly… I don’t care for the content of this song either. You can probably guess what it’s about just by looking at the title. Jesus. I’m not feelin’ this hook. This beat is fucking awful honestly. The more I listen to it the more I hate it. I wasn’t feelin’ the second verse, and I DAMN sure wasn’t feelin’ that long ass skit at the end of the song. This is the only song on the album so far that I legitimately think is bad. This shit is wack to me.
15. Can’t C Me featuring George Clinton produced by Dr. Dre
The production on this track is really dope. I like how aggressive Pac’s delivery is on the first verse. This is actually really goddamn good. I like the hook from George Clinton a lot. Pac killed the second verse. I love the horns that come in before the third verse. This is awesome. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album so far. This is a great way to start the second disc. He killed that final verse. George Clinton sounds great over this production too. I don’t have any issues with this song at all. I think it’s dope af.
16. Shorty Wanna Be a Thug produced by Johnny “J”
Huh. This song flips the same sample as Drive Slow by Kanye West. It doesn’t sound too similar to that song though. The hook is really simplistic, but I don’t mind it at all. The first verse was pretty solid. The second verse was cool too. This is the shortest song on the album. I guess that’s not really saying much though because it’s still almost four minutes long. I don’t really have any issues with the song, but it didn’t blow me away. It seems to be a standout track for most people, but to me it’s just another good song. It’s not amazing. I fuck with it though. It’s dope.
17. Holla at Me featuring Jewell produced by DJ Bobcat
Wikipedia has Jewell listed as a feature, but according to Genius it’s Nancy Fletcher. RateYourMusic & iTunes don’t have a feature listed at all. I’m just gonna assume it’s Jewell. Anyway, the production on this track is absolutely stellar. DJ Bobcat put his ass in this beat. It sounds like something that could be released today. The hook’s pretty solid too. The first verse seems to be a message to a former friend who betrayed Pac. According to Genius it’s directed towards Stretch. Pac snapped on that second verse. Apparently that one was directed towards Biggie. The final verse was about the woman who accused him of raping her. I think this is one of the best songs on the album so far honestly. I love the beat, and Pac rapped his ass off on this track. This shit is dope af.
18. Wonda Why They Call U Bitch produced by 2Pac & Johnny “J”
The beat on this track is pretty good. I don’t think I’m gonna be listening to this again in the future though. I don’t really care for the hook, and I could tell just from the title that I wasn’t gonna be feelin’ the content of this song. This is basically 2Pac’s slut shaming anthem. It’s not nearly as harsh or disrespectful as some other songs with similar content, but I still don’t really like it. I wouldn’t call this wack, but I’m personally not feelin’ it at all. I’m never gonna listen to this again. This is one of my least favorite tracks on the album so far.
19. When We Ride featuring Hussein Fatal, Kastro, Napoleon, Big Syke, E.D.I. Mean, Yaki Kadafi & Mopreme produced by DJ Pooh
The beat on this track is pretty cool. It’s definitely not one of my favorite beats on the album, but it’s not bad at all. I guess this was the song that formally introduced the Outlawz. I just listened to the whole song. It’s pretty solid. I don’t really have any issues with it. None of the verses really blew me away, but they were fine. It’s certainly not a standout song, but I enjoyed it for what it is. Big Syke stood out the most to me just because he has the most distinctive voice out of all of the rappers on the song. Anyway, I like the song. It’s not amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it. This is dope.
20. Thug Passion featuring Kastro, Napoleon, E.D.I. Mean, Yaki Kadafi, Storm & Jewell produced by Johnny “J”
This song reminds me of Tech N9ne’s Caribou Lou because it’s about 2Pac’s own alcoholic drink that he invented called Thug Passion. It’s basically just Alizé mixed with Cristal. According to Pac, “this drink is guaranteed to get the pussy wet and the dick hard.” I don’t uh… I don’t think I’m gonna like this song. The production’s decent though. The first verse from Kastro was fine. I’m not really feelin’ the hook from Jewell. It’s not terrible or anything. It’s just not really that good to me. The verses from Napoleon, E.D.I. Mean, Yaki Kadafi & Storm are all fine I guess. Kadafi didn’t really have a full verse. He just spit like two bars. The final verse from Pac was okay I guess. This isn’t good. I wouldn’t really call it wack, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Nothing about it really stands out in a positive way. I could’ve done without this track. It’s tolerable though.
21. Picture Me Rollin’ featuring C.P.O., Big Syke & Danny Boy produced by Johnny “J”
This is one of the more popular songs from the album. I’ve heard a lot of rappers freestyle over this beat. Ace Hood is the first one that comes to mind. I know I’ve heard others use it too though. Anyway, the beat is dope af. Pac did a really good job with the first verse too. Big Syke’s verse was okay. His flow kinda left something to be desired. It wasn’t trash though. Danny Boy sounds smooth as hell on the hook. He sang his ass off. C.P.O. sounded pretty good on the final verse. It was definitely a step up from Big Syke’s verse. This is definitely one of the best songs on the album. The features could’ve been better, but the production is fantastic, and Danny Boy sang his ass off on the hook. Pac’s verse was good too. This shit is dope af.
22. Check Out Time featuring Big Syke & Kurupt produced by 2Pac & Johnny “J”
The production on this track is smoother than a motherfucker. The first verse from Pac was fine. I don’t really care for the content of this song. The uncredited vocals from Natasha Walker on the hook are really nice. Kurupt did his thing on the second verse. Syke was alright on the last verse. I don’t really have much to say about this track. The content isn’t for me, but this is really good sonically. The hook is great, and I really fuck with the production. This shit is dope to me.
23. Ratha Be Ya Nigga featuring Richie Rich produced by Doug Rasheed
I really love the production from Doug Rasheed on this track, but this song is not for me at all lyrically.
I ain’t begging just trying to relocate between your legs
Dripping wet, as we experiment in sweaty sex
When you met me you wouldn’t let me, and now
You straight begging to sex me got you undressing to test me
HELL no. Ugh… I really WANT to like this song, but the content doesn’t appeal to me at all. The hook’s not bad, and Richie Rich & Pac sound fine on the verses. The lyrics ruin this shit for me. I wouldn’t call this a bad song, but I personally don’t enjoy it. The production is really dope though. Doug Rasheed did a great job with this track.
24. All Eyez on Me featuring Big Syke produced by Johnny “J”
The beat on this track is really dope. Johnny “J” flipped the same sample that the Trackmasters used for Nas’ Street Dreams. I definitely prefer this song. The way Pac sings “all eyes on me” sounds really good. The first verse is good, and I think this song has one of the best hooks on the album. The second verse from Big Syke was fine. The final verse from Pac was really good. I don’t really have any issues with this track. I definitely think it would’ve been better if Pac held it down on his own, but Big Syke was okay on the second verse. This shit is dope af.
25. Run tha Streetz featuring Michel’le, Napoleon & Storm produced by Johnny “J” & 2Pac
Hmm… This song kinda reminds me of the title track from Jay Rock’s latest album. The melody sounds similar. I’m not crazy about the hook from Michel’le, but it’s not that bad. The first verse from Pac was fine. Storm did her thing on the second verse. Napoleon’s verse was fine. Huh… I definitely enjoyed this song to a certain extent, but it’s far from my favorite track. It’s kinda boring compared to a lot of the other tracks on this album. It’s still good though. I like this.
26. Ain’t Hard 2 Find featuring C-Bo, B-Legit, D-Shot, E-40 & Richie Rich produced by Mike Mosley & Rick Rock
The production on this track is cool. Pac did his thing on the first verse. C-Bo, B-Legit & D-Shot all had decent verses. The hook’s okay. Nothing about this song really stands out that much. I’m definitely enjoying it though. It just feels like something’s missing. Nothing really pushes it to the next level of enjoyability for me. E-40 had my favorite verse on the song. Richie Rich’s verse was alright. I like this song, but it’s far from my favorite track on the album. It’s cool though. I fuck with it.
27. Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find featuring Danny Boy produced by QDIII
The beat on this track isn’t bad. It’s not one of the best beats on the album, but it’s pretty solid. I just finished listening to this whole song. It’s pretty good. Again, it’s not one of the best songs on the album, but I don’t really have any issues with it. All of the verses from Pac are sufficient, and Danny Boy did a great job with the hook. I think it’s kind of an underwhelming way to close the album, but this second disc certainly ends better than the first one. This shit is dope.
This is actually a very good album. It’s much better than I was expecting it to be. I think this is definitely the best produced 2Pac album up to this point in his career, and this album contains some of his most recognizable songs. For a double album, this is a really impressive project. It doesn’t have nearly as much filler as I was expecting. That’s not to say that every single track is worth listening to. There are certainly songs that didn’t really impress me. The majority of what’s here is dope though. On the RYM page for this album, there are a shit ton of people complaining about how this album is super overrated. I certainly don’t think it’s as amazing as a lot of other people seem to, so I kinda get why they’re calling it overrated. If I was around when this project first came out I might feel differently. Anyway, I think this is a good album. I wouldn’t call it “great,” but I enjoyed it a lot. It’s dope to me.
Favorite Song: I Ain’t Mad at Cha
Least Favorite Song: What’s Ya Phone #
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.
U trippin, appreciate your opinions and understand 2pac is not your cup of tea. But your critique s that most of 2pacs verses are “ok, or pretty good or held his own”, are way off, in my opinion. 2pac is far more talented as a writer, producer, rapper, actor, and off topic, activist than you have given him credit. At 24 years old he was respected for those things by the world over, for good reason. Not because he was busy “holding his own”
I think this is The Greatest Double Album Of All Time. Life After Death is a really close second though imo.