Makaveli The 7 Day Theory :: Day Three :: The Untouchable Death Row Records

06-12-2012 § 1 Comment

“Why explain the game, niggaz ain’t listening …”

Death Row Records. Just the name used itself used to be a powerful thing, now it’s a bankrupt company sold off to a third party who is thankfully opening the vaults and releasing music – in cooperation with the artists where possible. 2Pac came to Death Row in 1996 after Suge bailed him out of prison in exchange for three albums – we all know how that turned out.

A tumultuous time in his career, Tupac seemed to think the world was out to get him, and maybe he was right. You could say he lived it up in his final months, and he definitely recorded a TON of material during this time in addition to filming movies and music videos. The material recorded during this time, in addition to the earlier unused recordings would keep the world satiated with new songs year after year, for many years to come.

His work ethic was truly remarkable, although there has been a lot of post-production and tampering done as well. I’ve tried to gather tracks that aren’t the “typical” tracks he recorded at Death Row, in order to keep this from being boring.

1. 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted (from the album “All Eyez On Me”) 2Pac & Snoop Doggy Dogg on the same label, with super producer Dr. Dre should’ve yielded at least one album worth of material (more on that another day!), but this song was a good introduction to what the two rappers could do together – always one of my favorite tracks, probably the bassline. Though Snoop’s million-man-march for some gangsta shit line stole the show – ‘Pac comes correct with the lines below as well.

Now give me fifty feet
Defeat is not my destiny, release me to the streets
And keep whatever’s left of me
Jealousy is misery, suffering is grief
Better be prepared when you cowards fuck wit me
I bust and flea,

They tell me not to roll with my glock
So now I gotta throw away
Floatin in the black Benz, tryin to do a show a day
They wonder how I live, with five shots
Niggaz is hard to kill, on my block

2. Picture Me Rollin’ (from the album “All Eyez On Me”) Kind of the ultimate “I’m out and you can’t do anything to stop me” record, you knew he was coming for everyone’s head after this one.

Now I’m released, how will I live? Will God forgive me
for all the dirt a nigga did, to feed kids?
One life to live, it’s so hard to be positive
when niggaz shootin at your crib
Mama, I’m still thuggin, the world is a war zone
My homies is inmates, and most of them dead wrong
Full grown, finally a man, just scheamin on ways
to put some green inside the palms of my empty hands

3. Hit ‘Em Up (featuring The Outlawz) – released as a B-side on the How Do U Want It single, this is the classic dis track going at The Notorious B.I.G., and Bad Boy Records. Lyrically, it’s not superior to a lot of dis records, but is a vicious assault nonetheless. You can hear the rage in Tupac’s verses, and moreso in the outro to the track as he goes at artists aligning themselves with Bad Boy Records. It should also be noted that this track samples the same original as Notorious B.I.G.’s Junior Mafia track “Gettin’ Money” and plays off that song throughout in terms of the ad-libs.

Now its all about Versace, you copied my style
Five shots couldn’t drop me, I took it and smiled
Now I’m bout to set the record straight, with my AK
I’m still the thug that you love to hate
Motherfucker, I hit ’em up

4. Cant C Me [produced by Dr. Dre] What kind of contribution would this be without the sole Dr. Dre produced track(Other than California Love – which I’m sure everyone has heard a million times)? Okay, he didn’t really “produce” the track for Tupac, as much as Suge gave Tupac the beat after removing Dr. Dre & Ice Cube’s vocals (or Tha Dogg Pound’s vocals – depending on which rumored story is true?). Vicious, this is an amazing track.

You niggas made a mistake
you shoulda never put my rhymes with Dre
them Thug niggas have arrived and it’s Judgement Day
Hey Homie if ya feel me
Tell them tricks that shot me
that they missed
they ain’t killed me

5. To Live & Die in L.A. (from the album “Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory”) – An eerie track released postuhumously on his second Death Row album. There is a quick dis (on the CD version) aimed at The Notorious B.I.G., who (coincidentally?) was killed in Los Angeles in March 1997, and another quick dis aimed at Dr. Dre in the closing lines but otherwise this is not a dis track at all.

Court cases keep me guessin, plea bargain
ain’t an option now, so I’m stressin, cost me more
to be free than a life in the pen
Makin money off of cuss words, writin again
Learn how to think ahead, so I fight with my pen
Late night down Sunset likin the scene
What’s the worst they could do to a nigga got me lost in hell
To live and die in LA on bail, my angel sing

6. Troublesome ’96 [OG Version] (released posthumously on “Greatest Hits”) The OG version included below has a slightly different beat, and the line “Undercover agents” die by the random shots is changed to “Outlawz” die by the random shots. This is all-Tupac and a great track, that could have made either of his two Death Row albums in terms of quality.

Pistol packin fresh out of jail, I ain’t goin back
Release me to the care, of my heartless strap
Say my name three times like Candyman
Bet I roll on yo’ ass like an avalance

7. Never Had A Friend Like Me [OG Version] (released posthumously on the “Gridlick’d” Soundtrack) Another ode to real friends, and against snitches. Down with you to the very end, ’cause you ain’t never had a friend like me …

See at night I watch the sky
I take another breath
I smoke my Newport to the butt
Like it’s the last motherfucker left
Just me and you evading enemies
Let you get my last shot of Hennessy
Ain’t never had a friend like me

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