"When I die I want to be a living legend"
D. Parry | 04/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Indeed he got his wish, though technically he was ALREADY a legend once this double cd opus hit store shelves. Rap would never be the same again after Pac shook the world with this classic double cd.
This is one of those groundbreaking albums that really changed the game up. Pac had released the classic and critically acclaimed "Me Against the World" the previous year, but it was this album which truly turned him into a hip hop icon. Almost every mainstream rapper today uses this as a blueprint to make their own records, but none have been able to match it yet. Pac covered essentially all angles here: Hardcore street songs, club anthems, classic posse cuts/duets, introspective songs, sad songs and socially charged/political songs. Although I dont consider it his BEST album (that title goes to Me Against the World), it is his most influential and certainly his most well known.
The first disc starts off with the very dark and brazen "Ambitionz Az a Ridah", which has to feature one of the sickest beats ever laid to wax. Its easy to tell from the get go that this was almost a completely different man then the one who did Me Against the World. Hes out of jail now and hes back with a vengeance. But after that first song, it goes to another important theme on the album with All About U, a song about groupies which features a beat totally made for the clubs. Also featured on the first disc is the classic track with Snoop, "2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted", the club anthem How Do U Want It, and of course CA's anthem, the infamous California Love with Dr. Dre. However these hits just scratch the surface of why this album is so great. You also get the extremely reflective and knowledge of self "Only God Can Judge Me", as well "Life Goes On" which is a beautiful and very sad ballad, probably one of the saddest songs you will ever hear and one of Pac's greatest tracks overall. The second disc isnt quite as strong as the first but it still holds its own...you have the Dr. Dre produced "Cant C Me", the cautionary "Shorty's Gonna Be a Thug", and my personal favorite on the second disc, "Holla At Me". This beat is just bonkers and Pac tears the song up with a relentless fury. The self titled song, Thug Passion, Picture me Rollin, and Aint Hard 2 Find are all dope too. There a few filler cuts as is the case on all double albums, but minus maybe 3-4 songs this is heat all the way through.
Like most of Pac's albums, this album is a classic and timeless. Along with Me Against the World and Makaveli the 7 Day Theory, this ranks as one of his best. Still sounds as fresh now as it did in '96. What made this album so great, besides its versatility was that it really showed Pac was continuing to grow as an artist. Its an album so opposite of what Me Against the World was, but thats probably why both albums are still so loved to this day, cause they are stark contrasts of one another but both are outstanding for different reasons. Me Against the World was pretty much his autobiography, All Eyez on Me was his celebration of life in the fast lane as a mega star. So many rappers (DMX, 50, Eminem, etc) tried to use the formula that Pac perfected with this album, but no one has come close. A hip hop classic that needs to be in every rap fans collection. If you dont own it, you're buggin."