All Eyez on Me
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 13, 1996 (1996-02-13)
StudioCan-Am Studios, Los Angeles
Genre
Length132:20
Label
Producer
2Pac chronology
Me Against the World
(1995)
All Eyez on Me
(1996)
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
(1996)
Singles from All Eyez on Me
  1. "California Love"
    Released: December 3, 1995
  2. "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted"
    Released: May 7, 1996
  3. "How Do U Want It"
    Released: June 4, 1996
  4. "I Ain't Mad at Cha"
    Released: September 15, 1996

All Eyez on Me is the fourth studio album by American rapper 2Pac and the last to be released during his lifetime. Released on February 13, 1996, by Death Row Records and Interscope Records, All Eyez on Me features guest appearances from several artists including the Outlawz, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, E-40, Redman, Method Man, Nate Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, K-Ci & JoJo, Roger Troutman, among others. The album features productions by Shakur alongside a variety of producers, including DJ Quik, Johnny "J", G Syier Hawkins Brown, Dr. Dre, Rick Rock, Daz Dillinger, DJ Pooh, DeVante Swing, among others.

The album includes the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "How Do U Want It" and "California Love". It featured four singles in all, the most of any of Shakur's albums. Moreover, All Eyez on Me made history as the first ever double-full-length hip-hop solo studio album released for mass consumption globally.

All Eyez on Me was the second album by 2Pac to chart at number one on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, selling 566,000 copies in the first week. Seven months later, 2Pac was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting. The album won the 1997 Soul Train award for Rap Album of the Year posthumously.[4][5] Shakur also won the award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist at the 24th Annual American Music Awards. The album was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on July 23, 2014, eighteen years after Shakur's death,[6][7] with shipments of over 5 million copies (each disc in the double album counted as a separate unit for certification).

Background

In October 1995, Suge Knight and Jimmy Iovine paid the $1.4 million bail necessary to get Shakur released from jail on charges of sexual abuse. At the time, Shakur was broke and thus unable to make bail himself. All Eyez on Me was released following an agreement between Knight and Shakur which stated Shakur would make three albums under Death Row Records in return for them paying his bail. Fulfilling part of Shakur's brand new contract, this double-album served as the first two albums of his three-album contract.[8][9]

Euthanasia was the initial title of the album until it was changed to All Eyez on Me during the recording process. Shakur explained to MTV's Bill Bellamy in December 1995 saying:

It's called All Eyez on Me. That's how I feel it is. I got the police watching me, the Feds. I got the females that want to charge me with false charges and sue me and all that. I got the females that like me. I got the jealous homeboys and I got the homies that roll with me. Everybody's looking to see what I'mma do now so All Eyez on Me.[10]

All Eyez on Me was originally intended for a Christmas 1995 release but was pushed back as Shakur continued to record music and shoot music videos for the album.[10]

Recording and production

The album features guest spots from 2Pac's regulars, such as former-Thug Life members and The Outlawz, as well as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, George Clinton, Rappin' 4-Tay, The Click, Method Man, and Redman among others.[11] The song "Heartz of Men" samples a portion of Richard Pryor's comedy album That Nigger's Crazy. Most of the album was produced by Johnny "J" and Daz Dillinger, with help from Dr. Dre on the songs "California Love", which he himself appeared in also as an album guest spot, and "Can't C Me", which was Clinton's appearance. DJ Quik also produced, mixed and made an appearance on the album, but had to use his real name on the credits because his contract with Profile Records prevented him from using his stage name.

Lyrical themes

The songs on All Eyez on Me are, in general, unapologetic celebrations of living the "Thug Lifestyle". Though there is the occasional reminiscence about past and present friends, it is a definite move away from the social and political consciousness of 2Pacalypse Now and Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z....[12] The songs on the album along with the name of the album itself, allude to the feeling of being watched. With songs like "Can't C Me" and "All Eyez on Me", 2Pac makes it known that he feels the presence of surveillance, most notably by the police. The album also references the fact that 2Pac is under the attention of many fans, being his fourth studio album.[13]

Singles

The first single, "California Love" featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman was released, December 3, 1995.[14] This is perhaps 2Pac's best-known song and his most successful, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks (as a double A-side single with "How Do U Want It") and 12 weeks at number one in New Zealand. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (with Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman) in 1997.[15] A remix version also produced by Dr. Dre appeared on the album. The song has since been certified 2x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[16]

Rapper Snoop Dogg made an appearance on the album's second single "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted"
Rapper Snoop Dogg made an appearance on the album's second single "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted"

"2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" featuring rapper Snoop Dogg, was released as a promotional single on, May 7, 1996.[17] The video was directed by one of 2Pac's production partners, Gobi M. Rahimi and was filmed four months prior to the September 1996 shooting of 2Pac. The prelude for the song shows a parody of Biggie Smalls ("Piggie") and Puff Daddy ("Buff Daddy") in discussion with Shakur about the November 1994 shooting. The beginning of the scene where Tupac is speaking to Biggie is in reference to the movie Scarface where Tony speaks to his alleged killer before shooting him.[18] The song peaked at number 46 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.[19]

The second single, "How Do U Want It" featuring R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo, was released, June 4, 1996.[20] It was paired with "California Love" as a double A-side single, with 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted and the non-album track, Hit 'Em Up serving as the B-sides. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. There were three videos filmed for the song: two in the same set for the single in April 1996. The video was directed by Ron Hightower and produced by Tracy D. Robinson. These two are distinguished by MPAA rating (one is certified adult material). The video portrays a wild sex party with jacuzzi, mechanical bull riding, cage dancing and pole stripping. All actors and actresses are dressed in renaissance-age costumes, though all clothes are removed for the nude clip. The adult-material video also features numerous porn stars, including Nina Hartley, Heather Hunter, and Angel Kelly.[21] The limousine segment seen in the clean version is the same except no nudity.[22] The third one is the concert version, mostly them performing on stage. There are cameo appearances by K-Ci & JoJo, and fellow group member of Digital Underground Shock G both in the concert and studio segments.[23]

"I Ain't Mad at Cha" featuring singer Danny Boy, was released in Europe and parts of Oceania shortly after Shakur's death as the final single from the album, on September 15, 1996. For the video the song was re-recorded with a live band. The new track was recorded at Can-Am Studios by Conley Abrams. The video was shot weeks before Shakur's death.[24]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[25]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[26]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[27]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[28]
NME9/10[29]
Pitchfork9.4/10[30]
Q4/5 stars[31]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[32]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[33]
Spin7/10[34]

All Eyez on Me received widespread critical acclaim. Spin magazine gave it 7 out of 10 and said: "As long as you don't expect philanthropy from Tupac, you'll find honesty and some pleasurably twisted scenarios."[34] The record ranked No. 3 on Entertainment Weekly's list of Top 10 albums of 1996.[35] AllMusic stated, "Maybe it was his time in prison, or maybe it was simply his signing with Suge Knight's Death Row label. Whatever the case, 2Pac re-emerged hardened and hungry with All Eyez on Me, the first double-disc album of original material in hip-hop history. With all the controversy surrounding him, 2Pac seemingly wanted to throw down a monumental epic whose sheer scope would make it an achievement of itself. But more than that, it's also an unabashed embrace of the gangsta lifestyle, backing off the sober self-recognition of Me Against the World. Sure, there are a few reflective numbers and dead-homiez tributes, but they're much more romanticized this time around. Despite some undeniable filler, it is easily the best production 2Pac's ever had on record".[25]

In the Los Angeles Times, Cheo Hodari Coker praised the album: "All Eyez on Me, a 27-song, 133-minute gangster's paradise, finds the rapper even more venomous than he was before his 11-month incarceration for sexual abuse. He displays no remorse for his tough life, and even less feeling for his enemies. The only thing jail time did for 2Pac was make his creative fires burn even hotter—he raps here with a passion and skill matched in gangsta rap only by Snoop Doggy Dogg and the Notorious B.I.G. And with such producers as DJ Pooh, DJ Quik, Dr. Dre and Johnny J laying down the tracks, he finally has a musical team worthy of his talent."[28]

Jon Pareles of the New York Times considered the album typical gansgta-rap fare, but with superior production. "Standard images of ghetto desperation turn up...but far more of 2Pac's rhymes are about living in luxury: driving a plush car, drinking cognac, smoking weed and having all the women he wants." Pareles notes that, "while 2Pac used to show some sympathy for women, he has returned to hard-line gangsta machismo, with women as either gold-digging 'bitches' or heavy-breathing, pliant 'hos'."[36]

"It's like a Cali thug-life version of Pink Floyd's The Wall – pure gangsta ego run amok over two CDs," complained Rolling Stone. "At that length, the album's all-hard-all-the-time tone approaches caricature."[37] Nonetheless, the album was included in the magazine's essential recordings of the 1990s.[38]

Accolades

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
FNAC France The 1000 Best Albums of All Time[40] 2008 461
Rock & Folk The Best Albums from 1963 to 1999[41] 1999 *
Babylon Greece The 50 Best Albums of the 1990s 48
Hip-Hop Connection United Kingdom The 100 Greatest Rap Albums 1995–2005 2005 35
The New Nation Top 100 Albums by Black Artists 64
Q The Ultimate Music Collection *
90 Albums of the 90s 1999 *
rap.About.com United States 100 Greatest Hip Hop Albums[42] 2008 80
Best Rap Albums of 1996[43] 1
Tom Moon 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die *
Entertainment Weekly The 100 Best Albums from 1983 to 2008 87
Ego Trip Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980–98 1999 14
Rolling Stone The Essential Recordings of the 90s *
100 Best Albums of the Nineties[44] 2010 50
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[45] 2020 436
Complex The 90 Best Rap Albums of the '90s 2014 10

Commercial performance

All Eyez on Me debuted at number-one on both the US Billboard 200 and the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, selling 566,000 copies in its first week, becoming 2Pac's second number one album on the chart.[46][47] The album was eventually certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[48] As of September 2011, All Eyez on Me has sold 5,887,630 in the United States, making it 2Pac's highest-selling album.[49] It has charted on the Billboard 200 for 105 weeks in total.

In the United Kingdom, the British Phonographic Industry certified the album silver on January 1, 1997, followed by gold on July 22, 2013, and platinum on November 14, 2014, for sales of over 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[50]

It was re-released in 2001 as enhanced CDs containing the "California Love" music video. Both discs contained the same data track. It was also re-released as a Dual-Disc in 2005.

Track listing

Disc 1: Book 1
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Ambitionz az a Ridah"Daz Dillinger4:39
2."All Bout U" (featuring Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Dru Down, Hussein Fatal and Yaki Kadafi)4:37
3."Skandalouz" (featuring Nate Dogg)
  • Shakur
  • Arnaud
Daz Dillinger4:09
4."Got My Mind Made Up" (featuring Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Redman and Method Man)
Daz Dillinger5:13
5."How Do U Want It" (featuring K-Ci and JoJo)
  • Shakur
  • Jackson
Johnny "J"4:47
6."2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" (featuring Snoop Dogg)
Daz Dillinger4:07
7."No More Pain"DeVante Swing6:15
8."Heartz of Men"DJ Quik4:44
9."Life Goes On"
  • Shakur
  • Jackson
Johnny "J"5:02
10."Only God Can Judge Me" (featuring Rappin' 4-Tay)
  • Shakur
  • Doug Rasheed
  • Doug Rasheed
  • Harold Scrap Freddie
4:57
11."Tradin' War Stories" (featuring Dramacydal, C-Bo and Storm)
  • Shakur
  • Mike Mosley
5:30
12."California Love (Remix)" (featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman)
6:25
13."I Ain't Mad at Cha" (featuring Danny Boy)
  • Shakur
  • Arnaud
Daz Dillinger4:54
14."What'z Ya Phone #" (featuring Danny Boy)
  • Shakur
  • Jackson
  • Johnny "J"
  • 2Pac
5:08
Total length:70:27
Disc 2: Book 2
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Can't C Me" (featuring George Clinton & Nanci Fletcher)
  • Shakur
  • Young
Dr. Dre5:31
2."Shorty Wanna Be a Thug"
  • Shakur
  • Jackson
Johnny "J"3:52
3."Holla at Me" (featuring Nanci Fletcher)
  • Shakur
  • Bobby Ervin
Bobby "Bobcat" Ervin4:55
4."Wonda Why They Call U Bitch"
  • Shakur
  • Jackson
4:19
5."When We Ride" (featuring Outlaw Immortalz & Nanci Fletcher)
  • Shakur
  • DJ Pooh
  • DJ Pooh
  • 2Pac
5:09
6."Thug Passion" (featuring Jewell, Dramacydal and Storm)
  • Johnny "J"
  • 2Pac
5:08
7."Picture Me Rollin'" (featuring Danny Boy, Big Syke and CPO)
Johnny "J"5:15
8."Check Out Time" (featuring Kurupt and Big Syke)
  • Shakur
  • Jackson
  • Himes
  • Brown
  • Johnny "J"
  • 2Pac
4:39
9."Ratha Be Ya Nigga" (featuring Richie Rich)
  • Shakur
  • Rasheed
Doug Rasheed4:14
10."All Eyez on Me" (featuring Big Syke)
Johnny "J"5:08
11."Run tha Streetz" (featuring Michel'le, Mutah and Storm)
  • Shakur
  • Jackson
  • Johnny "J"
  • 2Pac
5:17
12."Ain't Hard 2 Find" (featuring E-40, B-Legit, D-Shot, C-Bo and Richie Rich)Shakur
  • Mike Mosley
  • Rick Rock
4:29
13."Heaven Ain't Hard 2 Find"QDIII3:58
Total length:61:54
Original UK edition bonus track
No.TitleWriter(s)ProducerLength
14."California Love" (short radio edit; featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman)
  • Shakur
  • Young
  • R. Troutman
  • L. Troutman
  • Durham
  • Cunningham
Dr. Dre4:01
Total length:136:21

Notes

Leftover and extra tracks

Most of the songs on the list were remixed on posthumous 2Pac albums Still I Rise, Until the End of Time, Better Dayz and Pac’s Life.

Sample credits

Personnel

Credits for All Eyez on Me adapted from AllMusic and CD booklet.[76]

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[104] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[105] Platinum 100,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[106] Platinum 20,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[107] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[108] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[109] Diamond 5,887,630[49]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also

References

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