On this day in 1991, one of Hip Hop’s brightest stars, Tupac Shakur, released his first studio album 2Pacalypse Now. Although it didn’t take the Billboard charts by storm upon its original release, it was the first of many albums that hold a place in the hearts of almost all fans of Hip Hop across the world.
As far as content goes, this is easily Pac’s most politically influenced album. From the opening single, “Young Black Male”, the listener can tell how 2Pac felt about the circumstances facing his people in 1991. The rest of the album follows that aggressive poetic style. Although this approach to the industry wasn’t one that gave him a jump start like the radio heavy songs of his competition during that era, it did hold truth and leave a mark on those that heard it. The lack of commercial success of this album came from its lack of a true radio single. The most popular song on the album, “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, did reach a peak position of 11 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles and Tracks chart in 1992, the subject matter and lack of hook made it a hard song to flood the airwaves with.
This was not an album for the radio; it was an album for the people. It still is. The nearly 20 year old Tupac Shakur was trying to talk to his bruised and battered people in the ghettos of America. He took the opportunity of his platform to showcase his poetic ability and address a country that he felt still needed to be addressed on the subject of racism and discrimination. This activist mindset became a theme throughout his career as he became more outspoken about the oppression of Blacks in America until his untimely death in 1997. From this project came the career of a man who has been argued to be the greatest rapper of all time. And whether that is certain or not, the fact still remains that this album started a legacy and we should all take some time to pay homage to the Thug who was taken from us too soon.