March 14, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of 2Pac releasing his album, ‘Me Against The World.’
Released in 1995, it is an important album in the career of the much-loved late rapper as it marked a turning point for Tupac, both personally and professionally.
‘Me Against The World’ was the last album Tupac recorded before his incarceration and subsequent signing to Death Row Records.
At the time, Tupac was facing plenty of real-life drama, including his conviction for sexual assault and being shot at the Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan.
Released just a few months after 1994’s ‘Thug Life’ album, the 1995 release saw a departure from Tupac’s previous recordings.
Instead of the Panther-influenced politics of his earlier work and the uncompromising gangsta stance of Thug Life, ‘Me Against The World’ brought a heavy dose of paranoia and nihilism with tracks like ‘If I Die 2Nite,’ ‘Death Around The Corner’ and ‘So Many Tears:’
Of course, the release is often noted for ‘Dear Mama.’
2Pac’s ode to his mother is often seen as a cornerstone of his career with its street-sentimentality, however, it is not the only track where he shows a more caring side.
‘Can U Get Away’ sees ‘Pac reaching out to a woman who is suffering domestic abuse, in a bid to prise her away from her man. Often overlooked, this is not the only notable track on the album as ‘Old School’ sees 2Pac paying homage to New York hip-hop – just months before playing an influential role in the building of the East Coast/West Coast beef that plagued the last years of his life (and that of The Notorious B.I.G.). ‘Pac even gives props to L.L. Cool J, who he would later go on to diss on wax.
‘Me Against The World’ is also notable for its relative lack of guest appearances. While Oakland’s Richie Rich features on ‘Heavy in the Game,’ the title track and ‘Outlaw’ both include appearances from Dramacydal.
Dramacydal was an earlier incarnation of The Outlawz, including K-Dog (Kastro), Young Hollywood (Yaki Kadafi), Mutah or Mu (Napoleon), and Big Malcolm (E.D.I. Mean).
Despite this relative lack of guests, there is no doubt that Tupac had deep respect in hip-hop on both the East and West Coast at the time, as shown by the video for his number-one single, ‘Temptations,’ which saw a slew of names stepping up to appear while ‘Pac was in prison:
Tupac’s career changed direction with his October ’95 release from prison on bail and signing to Death Row.
His outlook could have been changed by prison, being shot at Quad, or even because he felt a need to switch up and represent for Death Row Records who bailed him out of jail?
Either way, ‘Me Against The World’ was the last album Tupac recorded before a plethora of life-changing experiences – and some would say, for that, it is the most complete album he ever made…