"Pac's Life" doesn't keep him living

Dec. 14, 2006, midnight | By Betsir Zemen | 15 years, 8 months ago

Tupac's newest album fails to impress

Pac's Life commemorates the ten-year anniversary of Tupac's death at age 25. His eleventh posthumous album, "Pac's Life" is an entire album of collaborations with artists who knew or grew up listening to Tupac. Unfortunately, with all the featured artists and re-mastered beats, Tupac's true talent fails to shine through in "Pac's Life."

The album starts out with the Swiss Beats Remix to "Untouchable," featuring Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. In one of the tracks more true to his style, Tupac makes one of his eerie references to death in the hook when asking, "Am I wrong cause I wanna get it on till I die?" Bone Thugs-n-Harmony can be heard annoyingly repeating Tupac's nickname "Pac" in the background. The last track on the album is the original version of "Untouchable" which contains the same Tupac verse as on the remix but instead features Yaki Kadafi, Hussein Fatal and Gravy, a different hook and a more watered down beat. On the vocals at the beginning of the track Tupac says, "expect me [expletive] like you expect Jesus to come back, expect me [expletive] I'm comin'."

The track named after the album title "Pac's Life," featuring Ashanti and T.I., is one of the best on the album. Ashanti sings the hook over an eclectic, pop beat. In Tupac's first verse, he seems to know of the controversy surrounding the legitimacy of his death, when he orders "to all y'all [expletive] conversating on my life, mind ya [expletive] business." T.I.'s verse is one of the most natural fitting featured versus on the album. Tupac's second verse in "Pac's Life" is from a previous album, and is the only verse on the entire album that isn't new. Later on the album is the "Pac's Life Remix" which contains the same beat and hook but adds a verse by Snoop Dogg, making it better than the original, despite it's lacking originality.

Not all tracks on the album are upbeat and fast-paced. "Dumpin'" featuring verses from Hussein Fatal and Papoose, combines an ominous, reggae accented Carl Thomas hook and a baleful piano melody. As the third track, it follows the pattern of putting the best tracks at the beginning and end of the album. "Dumpin" has one of the best Tupac verses and Tupac's reverence is even displayed when Papoose raps, "I always thought I'd have to die to do a record with Pac."

Another slower track, "Playa Cards Right," is featured twice on the album, one with male collaborators and one with females. The first features a hook and verse by Keyshia Cole. The laid-back beat and twinkling piano melody combined with Tupac's deep, hard-core flow make this another one of the better tracks found at the beginning of the album. Keyshia Cole's verse is more of a showcase for her own irrefutable talent. Once again, the remixed male version of "Playa Cards Right" found towards the end of the album boasts the same Tupac verse but instead uses a hook by Keon Bryce and a verse by Ludacris, in which women are urged to take their time in relationships. Although the male version has a new beat, an equally beautiful hook, and a metaphorical Ludacris verse, Tupac's lyrics and words are not emphasized.

Other than "Soon As I Get Home" featuring Yaki Kadafi, the rest of the tracks in the middle of the album do not have a Tupac feel, and feature artists that Tupac would probably not have collaborated with, including Chamillionaire and Young Buck. The hooks and verses on most of the songs, despite the songs at the beginning and their similar sounding remixes at the end, do not highlight Tupac, but rather accentuate the featured artists. Overall, "Pac's Life" is a misleading album and title, which doesn't emulate Tupac's life or even display his talent.

Betsir Zemen. More »

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