R U Still Down (Remember Me?) by 2Pac (1997)

09Feb11

Why so mad? There was nobody on Earth quite like Tupac Shakur (except for Cluck-U-Pac of College Park, MD fame) when it came to getting pissed off and talking about it. Like say you are about to go kick someone’s ass, but had just woken up from a nap. Listen to this album on your way to the fight, and you should be sufficiently wound up. I guess I can give the guy a break for being upset…after all, he was dead when this album was released! Killed in 1996, 2Pac continued to release albums for several years, which spawned a ton of rumors that he was still alive. However, albums like R U Still Down have the fingerprints of Pac’s early career, so it’s pretty obvious that he didn’t really have any creative input into this effort (unlike Makaveli, which was totally his idea). This double-disc came out a year after his death, but you can tell the lyrics and such were recorded in the early 90s (before Death Row, etc). It’s 2Pac at his most passionate, when he was genuinely struggling in life and had a lot to say about it. The messages focus primarily on: being pissed off, doing something about it, and every once in a while he’d stop to smell the roses.

It’s common knowledge that 2Pac was eccentric and outspoken, and he really was the crazy man that he said he was. Today’s modern “thugs” pale in comparison to the psychotic behavior of 2Pac, who would calmly explain his views to a news reporter, but probably went home and wrote his manifesto in blood on the bathroom mirror afterward. This dude was nuts! And I love it. Many artists have a screw loose, which makes them interesting to pay attention to. But I’m not sure that Pac’s brain was ever really screwed in to begin with. Many of his songs have great messages that still get airplay and motivate the “me against the world” types out there, who only take advice from those who share their tough life experiences. The problem is, Pac would turn around and get accused of the same type of behavior that he was speaking out against. That’s his legacy…a confused artist who just wanted to put today’s message out there without regard for yesterday or tomorrow. Gotta respect that, I guess. Pac famously performed new songs at almost every show, and was never really worried about promoting his latest record, because he had too many ideas in his head for his next recording.

There are a ton of highlights on this album, with the two most obvious ones being ‘Do For Love’ and ‘I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto’. Those two tracks hit the radio and MTV with great success. But they hardly define 2Pac…if you’re looking for something more in his traditional style, I’d recommend ‘When I Get Free 2’, ‘Hold On Be Strong’ and ‘Nothing To Lose’. I could have picked 5 or 6 other strong tracks too, so do your homework or just buy the whole thing. For newer 2Pac fans, I don’t really think it’s necessary to recommend picking this one up as a whole album. Since Pac himself didn’t arrange these songs together, there isn’t really a consistent message being portrayed here. But if you’re a real Pac fan, this album is surely “required reading” for your music library, and you probably already own it anyway.

music turtle recommends: GET SOME TRACKS!

What do you think about this album? Comment below

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