This is the debut album from “the greatest emcee to ever touch a mic,” at least I have been proclaiming that ever since I was first introduced to this amazing artist.
There is something intangible about his music. It could be the raw emotion that he seems to evoke on every single song he appears on. It could be the intensity in which he delivers his music. It could be his versatility to rap about anything and make it sound like it is near and true to his heart. He can do some of hardest ganster rap you could think of and then turn around a do a song uplifting woman, as he did in Keep Your Head Up.
From the first time I heard him on Digital Underground’s gem This is an E.P. Release, 2Pac shined. Shortly thereafter, I saw the debut video from this album, Trapped. The video was striking for a few reasons. Number one, I was a fan of Digital Underground and Humpty Hump was signing the hook on this new song. Number two, I was already a 2pac fan from his appearance on Digital Underground’s Same Song and love to sing along with it. Number 3, the video had a grainy look to it, great lyrics, and was completely different than anything I had heard from Digital Underground.
This was 2Pac’s first offering and I know plenty of people who can’t understand why I love this album so much. 2Pac did grow as an artist and you can hear that growth in his later recordings. But this record will always be special to me. Trapped remains one of my all-time favourite songs. This album is a classic to me.
I think there is still a great debate over the greatest rapper of all time. I don’t think we necessarily need to crown anyone. I just think that it is important to acknowledge the greats. 2Pac has had a long and successful career. He has shown longevity in a field where not many artists can. He has released album after album of great material. He has witty wordplay, great delivery, and covers a wide variety of topics in his songs. He has been and continues to be an influence to rappers everywhere.
This album introduced us to a great talent. Had 2Pac’s life not been cut tragically short, I am sure that he would still be on top of his game. He was just beginning to show us his amazing talent on the big screen as well. There would have been no denying his stature as one of the best of all time on record, the stage, and the screen. His presence is still felt and I know that I still mourn our loss. Rest in Peace Tupac Shakur! You are missed.