Me Against The World


Interscope Records, 1995

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's kind of weird that after giving such a glowing review to Tupac Shakur's last album released before his 1996 murder, All Eyez On Me, it's taken me this long to pick up anything else from his discography. Although I do enjoy rap, I'd be hard-pressed to say that there are certain tapes I must run out and purchase the day they come out, like some rock groups I like.

Like my last 2Pac purchase, Me Against The World was an impulse buy, and turned out to be an incredible album. Where All Eyez On Me occasionally seemed bloated because of a couple of filler cuts, Me Against The World is solid throughout, with maybe one slip through the album's 15 tracks.

Shakur gained some positive press for this album thanks to the track "Dear Mama," which could very well be the best rap song I have ever listened to. A song which breaks away from the vulgarity and violence that is often found in gangsta rap, Shakur takes the time to thank the person who gave him life, even admitting his own faults as he grew up. It is a touching, surprising moment on this album.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For that matter, I counted a total of two or three tracks that could have gotten airplay with either minimal or no bleeping at all. "Can U Get Away" shows the rapper's concern for a female friend (lover?) who is trapped in an abusive relationship, while "Temptations" is simply an enjoyable track. Could this have symbolized a change of style for Shakur following the shooting which almost took his life?

One word: Nope. Tracks like "Outlaw," "F*** The World" (not my censoring of the name) and "Death Around The Corner" show that Shakur hadn't renounced the thug life. Of these tracks, only "Outlaw," the album's ending track, is a minor disappointment.

One thing I especially liked on Me Against The World was the limited use of guest rappers on the tracks. Only two guests are listed: Dramacydal (who guests on two tracks) and Richie Rich (on one). This is a refreshing change; as I've said before, if I pay money for a 2Pac album, that's who I want to hear most of the time. (The only thing which grated on my ears was the Jamaican rants on "Heavy In The Game," though I'm not sure who provided those.)

Hearing albums like Me Against The World make me feel all the worse that Shakur died so violently and so young. One wonders had he not lived the thug life he proclaimed so boldly in his music if he would be the most influential rapper. The fact that his two posthumous albums have sold so well is a sign to his longevity. Plus, there were rumors that Shakur was tiring of the thug life; had he done an album completely in the style of "Dear Mama" and "Can U Get Away," he would have been a definite crossover superstar.

Me Against The World is another album in the rap genre that one could call a "must-own," and serves as yet another sad reminder of how big a talent the genre lost when Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas two years ago. This arguably is his best album - and it makes me all the more committed to checking out the other titles in his catalog.

Rating: A-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Interscope Records, and is used for informational purposes only.