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2Pacalypse Now

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Album Review

When 2Pac's full-length debut, 2Pacalypse Now, came out in 1991, it didn't have the same immediate impact, didn't instantly throw him into the upper echelons of rap's elite, as Nas', Jay-Z's, or even his biggest rival, Notorious B.I.G.'s did, but the album certainly set him up for his illustrious and sadly short-lived career. Part of its initial problem, what held it back from extensive radio play, is that there's not an obvious single. The closest thing to it, and what ended up being the best-known track from 2Pacalypse Now, is "Brenda's Got a Baby," which discusses teenage pregnancy in true Pac fashion, sympathetically explaining a situation without condoning it, but it doesn't even have a hook, and most of the other pieces follow suit, more poetry than song. The album is significantly more political than the rapper's subsequent releases, showing an intelligent, talented, and angry young man (he was only 20 when it came out) who wanted desperately to express and reveal the problems in the urban black community, from racism to police brutality to the seemingly near impossibility of escaping from the ghetto. He pays tribute to artists like KRS-One, N.W.A, and Public Enemy, all of whom he also considered to be provoking discussion and reaction, but he also has cleanly carved out an image for himself: articulate and smart, not overtly boastful, and concerned about societal problems, both small and large (and though he discusses these less and less as career progresses, he never leaves them behind). Yes, the edges of 2Pacalypse Now can be a bit rough, yes the beats aren't always outstanding, and yes, the MC's flow can be a little choppy, even for him, but it's still a great look at what 2Pac could offer, and a must-have for any fan of his, or hip-hop in general.

Customer Reviews

it's about time

finally theres some real rap on the iTunes store instead of the garbage rap we have today

Finally here been a long time!!!!

Pac's first album.. Trapped is definitely the song u must listen too... Although Great Album. REAL GHETTO ISSUES.
RIP... The Goat

It was long overdue

Back in the early 90s, Tupac Shakur was far from what most stereotypes attach him to. Instead of seemingly being an interchangeable thug as he's often been wrongly accused of, in his debut album, 1991's 2Pacalypse Now he's a lot more political and has taken much more influence from Public Enemy, Paris and Ice Cube than anybody else. It works, though, his association with Digital Underground is still in place and Shock G and company do contribute to the production sometimes. 2Pac as a rapper is still in his early days and therefore, his rapping kind of falls short compared to how much he improved a few years later. But he has a message in most songs and a powerful voice that makes up for his lyrical shortcomings. What really holds this album back though, is definitely the production. 2Pacalypse Now is mostly produced by some close associates that I'm not really familiar with and compared to the ahead-of-it's-time production work other producers like Dr. Dre (Efil4zaggin), Prince Paul (De La Soul is Dead) and Large Professor (Breaking Atoms) from 1991, it obviously falls short and sounds far too outdated. I can't blame anything on 2Pac though, he was still a rookie that no one would have wanted to waste his valuable beats on, but the old sounding beats help his lyrics become more clear as he does have a message and tells some excellent stories too. Far from his best album, 2Pacalypse Now is still a worthwhile album to pick up.


Born: June 16, 1971 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s

2Pac became the unlikely martyr of gangsta rap, and a tragic symbol of the toll its lifestyle exacted on urban black America. At the outset of his career, it didn't appear that he would emerge as one of the definitive rappers of the '90s -- he started out as a second-string rapper and dancer for Digital Underground, joining only after they had already landed their biggest hit. But in 1991, he delivered an acclaimed debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, and quickly followed with a star-making performance in...
Full Bio

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