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All Eyez on Me: A Glimpse Into the Life of One of the Best Poets of Our Time

As a child raised by parents with exceptionally diverse musical tastes, I was exposed to everything from opera and country to 80’s pop. However, for as long as I can remember, no music resonated with me quite like hip-hop.

Whether it was Naughty by Nature, Digital Underground, or even Beastie Boys I couldn’t be happier than when I was riding around town in the back seat feeling the base vibrate my booster seat.

However, my daily rides rarely included the likes of Snoop Dogg or Biggie because my parents had some sense to censor my listening, at least a little. As such, I was a late bloomer when it comes to many of the classics, particularly 2Pac, who has been one of the most essential artists in my personal music journey and style preferences. While I didn’t actually get the opportunity to really listen to him until middle school, I had heard songs here and there. Waiting to dive deep into his historical track list until later hasn’t lessened my appreciation for his status as a hip-hop icon. If anything, it allowed me to better absorb his lyrics and stylistic talent. While I enjoy his music as a whole, there is some work that stands out from the rest.

Enter All Eyes On Me.

The dual album has the perfect eclectic mix of darker, hard-hitting tracks, party anthems, and emotional reflections. No matter what mood you are in, there is no arguing that at least one, if not several songs from this album, could make your playlist.

You have the classic “California Love” that has remained a party essential for decades, “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” and “Life Goes On” for a more mellow or somber mood, and even “How Do You Want It” when you’re looking to be romantic.

You would expect the two parts to be disjointed, however, 2Pac’s distinct style in delivery, tone, and charisma all work together to take the listener on a journey through each song individually and as a bigger story overall. For me, All Eyez on Me truly captures the many layers that 2Pac encapsulated as an artist and as a human being. There are very few tracks I don’t like from this work, some of my favorites include “All About U”, “Wonda Why They Call U B____”, and “I Ain’t Mad at Cha”. While some of the topics he discusses are more relatable to me than others. For instance, loss, financial struggles, and desire as opposed to getting shot and suicidal thoughts, his vivid lyrics immersed me into even the most unfamiliar aspects of his life. My personal experience listening to the album reminded me of reading a journal that gave me a peek into his stream of consciousness, creating an intimate bond that has followed me into adulthood.

There is no denying that 2Pac was an epic rapper, however, he is first and foremost a writer. A fact that has drawn me to his music and even helped me grow in my own writing, more than anything else. His ability to paint a vivid mental image, invoke raw emotion, and connect with listeners on a deeper level is something that the greatest novelists must achieve and he does it nearly flawlessly throughout his entire catalog.  I’ll leave you with a sentiment from 2Pac himself that I think sums up this album and his impact on hip-hop, “My lyrics motivate the planet”. He was right.

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