Release date: February 13, 1996
Credits: Suge Knight (executive producer), DJ Quick, Johnny J, Dat Nigga Daz, DeVante, DJ Pooh, Dr. Dre, Lawlay, Bobby “Bobcat” Ervin, Dave Aron, Johnny J, Mike Mosley, Doug Rasheed, Rick Rock, QD3, 2Pac
Backstory: Immediately after Tupac Shakur (or 2Pac) was released from prison after serving 11 months for sexual abuse, he didn’t hit the club or try to link up with a woman to make up for lost time. He hit the studio. And what emerged was an epic, fiery, brilliantly produced double CD (the first 2-disc rap album in history), and arguably one of the best rap albums ever made. It was his debut on Death Row Records, the first album to fulfill a 3-album promise to Suge Knight, president of the label, who, along with Jimmy Iovine, put up the $1.4 million bail for the rapper. No stranger to controversy and rebellious behavior, the album reflected 2Pac’s volatile, tumultuous life with each of the 20 tracks bursting with raw, edgy ferocity and his signature poetic and passionate charisma. Combine that with his lyrical assaults (most notably on East Coast rappers), coupled with his disdain for authority and typical misogynistic verbiage, and what you have is an emotional album that still whets the appetites of many hip-hop palates today. 2Pac would achieve much immediate success with the album (including two Grammy nominations) which included hits such as California Love (Remix), featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman from Zapp; I Ain’t Mad at Cha; How Do You Want It, featuring KC and JoJo of Jodeci; and 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted, with Snoop Dogg. The Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, George Clinton, Method Man, Redman, Miche’le, The Outlawz and Thug Life were also featured on the album. But it’s a shame the iconic rapper didn’t get a chance to fully enjoy the success of his most celebrated album. He was killed in a drive-by shooting off the Las Vegas strip seven months after its release. His death remains unsolved.
Chart status: All Eyez on Me debuted at number one on the Billboard charts after its release and was certified quintuple platinum by the fall of 1996. In 2014, the album was certified diamond by the RIAA (10 times platinum with 10 million copies sold).
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