Artist: 2PacTitle: Pac’s LifeRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: KeiSaundra “K Sincere” Henderson
While Nas is proclaiming Hip-Hop is dead, he may be speaking literally. While there are emcees currently in the business alive and well, the late, great Tupac continues to overshadow those who claim to be “the best in the game,” from the grave. Tupac’s latest release, Pac’s Life (Amaru/Interscope) although filled with too many collaborations makes an applaudable effort to recreate the Pac we all once knew. Even the ad libs on several of the tracks attempt to create conversations between Pac and the artists, some of which he actually knew in his lifetime. However, in spite of these re-creations, it’s hard to believe true Pac fans believe this interpretation of “Pac’s Life.”
“Untouchables” featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, is a classic original gracefully remixed by Swizz Beatz, transposing this song into a club track. To follow up, T.I. and Ashanti make an appearance on “Pac’s Life,” which lacks in production and vocals but is revived by T.I. who holds his ground. “You taught me first, fake n*gga can’t stop a G/And all the sh*t you went through meant a lot to me/To watch them lock you up for nothing was a shame to see/You know the cracker came and did the same thing to me,” says T.I. in a very conversational flow addressing the late Pac, paying homage to the struggle he experienced.
Hussein Fatal, Papoose and Carl Thomas make a stand up appearance on “Dumpin.” Papoose, the rookie of the three collaboration artists appears to have studied Pac’s life and lyrical testament, as a lot emcees have. “I always thought I’d have to die to do a record with Pac/So I wrote from the perspective of a graveyard box…Dig your grave up and snatched you out the casket/Worms in my eyes, eating through my cabbage/The flesh to the bones/The bones to the ashes/But I’m not dead, I’m actually in a session with the Pac Keeper, Sha Money, progressing.”
One of the best collaborations on the album features songstress Keyshia Cole belting out over the grand piano. Here Pac vividly paints a picture of dying alone, without love. “Sleep” featuring Young Buck and Chamillionaire tells a narrative of living through the struggle, life in the streets and attributing their success to not sleeping but grinding and watching their backs. This unlikely trio along with intense production make this track worth appreciating.
For many, Pac’s actual life is inexplicable. Pac’s Life attempts to re-create the late rapper’s earlier albums and invent relationships with today’s emcees. It fails to re-create his lifestyle and west-side production, but still makes for good music.