Why is 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
While sprawling and uneven, this double album contains some of Tupac Shakur’s best artistic output.
Some stats & info about 2Pac – All Eyez on Me
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hardcore Rap, Hip Hop
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #436
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was All Eyez on Me released? 1996
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #943 out of 1,000
2Pac’s All Eyez on Me on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Tupac Shakur as a musical artist. He’s obviously incredibly talented, and some of his output represents exceptional and cutting edge 1990s hip hop. However, a good amount of it in my view is either uninteresting or kind of a turn off in terms of its lyrical content. This dynamic opens up the Pandora’s Box to the many dynamics going on during Tupac’s short life and ultimately tragic end.
All Eyes on Me doesn’t escape those contradictions, but there’s enough exciting and exceptional tracks on its sprawling two disc spread to warrant entry in my best 1,000 albums ever.
The title track, “All Eyez On Me” represents Tupac at his very best, perhaps in part because its relatively restrained… at least from a musical standpoint. The hook is a fabulous mix of slinky r&b and funk, a perfect backdrop for Tupac’s relaxed and confident flow. Big Syke’s guest verse provides a really nice mix of styles as well.
“I Ain’t Mad At Cha” feels so casual and relaxed that you could imagine Tupac freestyling it in front of a piano, but that belies his talent as a rapper and songwriter. And there’s something about this one, in its tone of forgiveness (if not reconciliation) that points to a more mature direction which, sadly, we’ll
“California Love,” featuring both Tupac and Dr. Dre, was an enormous hit song in 1996, and for good reason. There’s a remix version on All Eyez on Me that doesn’t nearly top the original, though. “Can’t C Me,” while feeling derivative in some ways to fellow (at the time) Death Row Records artist and bourgeoning hip hop superstar Snoop Dogg’s “What’s My Name?,” has great energy and is one of Tupac’s best up tempo numbers.