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Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘All Eyez On Me’ by ‘2Pac’

Released: 1996

Label: Amaru Entertainment, Inc./Interscope Records

Featuring: Yaki Kadafi, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Fatal, Daz Dillinger, Method Man, Redman, Kurupt, K-Ci & JoJo, “Rappin 4-Tay”, Storm, C-Bo, Outlawz, C-PO, Dr. Dre, Roger, Danny Boy, Outlaw Immortals, Jewell, Big Syke, Richie Rich, Mutah, “Michelle”, E-40, B-Legit.

When you talk about hip-hop legends, few names resonate as powerfully as 2Pac. A trailblazer in every sense of the word, Pac’s lyrics were the yardstick by which the essence of the culture was measured, a potent blend of hustle mentality and social acuity. With ‘All Eyez On Me’, 2Pac tapped into the potent brew of his street-hardened wisdom and brazen defiance, creating a 2-disc tour de force that captures the zeitgeist of the 90s G-funk era like no other.

Not just a collection of songs, ‘All Eyez on Me’ presents a complex tapestry of the highs and lows of street life. From the unapologetic machismo of ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’ and ‘2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted’, to the introspective contemplation on ‘Life Goes On’ and ‘Only God Can Judge Me’, each track weaves a chapter in 2Pac’s narrative. Guest spots from heavy hitters like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Method Man amplify the depth and breadth of the opus, imbuing it with an ethos that echoes still in the hip-hop landscape today.

But to truly appreciate this magnum opus, one must dive deeper, peeling back the layers of 2Pac’s lyricism, exploring the verses in their gritty detail. Only then can we start to grasp the profundity of 2Pac’s vision, a vision that transcended his short-lived career but continues to inspire a generation of emcees. So let’s get into it. From ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’ to ‘Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find’, here’s breaking down the lyrics on ‘All Eyez On Me’ by ‘2Pac’.

1 Ambitionz Az A Ridah

Intricately layered with real street narratives, the lyrics reflect a life lived on the edge. Pac spits unapologetically, making it clear he’s not one to be messed with, invoking a resilience that is unnerving, thrilling, and deeply compelling all at once. Standout verse, “Was born rough and rugged, addressin’ the mass public. My attitude was fuck it, ’cause motherfuckers love it,” underlines his refusal to conform and a grim determination to assert his identity. The track delves into Tupac’s lawless ride, his unyielding approach to life, reflecting the very spirit of the warrior he was. In the midst of a hip-hop landscape dominated by braggadocio and materialistic excess, “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” stands as an anthem of defiance and survival.

2 All About U

Features: Yaki Kadafi, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Fatal

Being all about the ladies isn’t new in the hip-hop game, but 2Pac infuses this trope with hard-hitting ironic commentary on fame’s illusions. He places his experiences, good or bad, at the center, navigating relationships and ego trips with a deft linguistic style. “You probably crooked as the last trick; wanna laugh at how I got my ass caught up with this bad bitch” he raps, underlining the deceit and play that often taint showbiz. It isn’t about glorifying the lifestyle, it’s about exposing it – the hollow glitz, the repetitive encounters, and the hard truth that in the end, it really ain’t all about you.

3 Skandalouz

Features: Nate Dogg

Pac’s lyrics dissect the deceptive, money-grabbing nature of certain women, narrating the perils of falling for their schemes. The dynamic duo of 2Pac and Nate Dogg deliver a lyrical exposé, avoiding sentimentality to deliver the cold, hard truth. One verse that hits particularly hard is: “It’s scandalous, I never liked your backstabbin’ ass, trick/Used to watch your money grabbin’, who you baggin’, bitch?” It’s a raw, unapologetic depiction of the streets, underlining the need for unfailing vigilance in navigating relationships. With ‘Skandalouz’, the listener gets a truth-coated bullet, built from the raw material of Pac’s lived experience.

4 Got My Mind Made Up

Features: Daz Dillinger, Method Man, Redman, Kurupt

Featuring Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Method Man, and Redman, this ensemble cut is a rap tour de force driven by its powerhouse verses and the assertive undertone of its hook. Each MC unleashes their lyrical prowess, but it’s 2Pac who epitomizes the track’s ruthless mentality with the formidable line, “Our intention to ride, every time, all night / I’m faced with the scars beyond this one bar.” It’s about holding their own in the rap game, maintaining their toughness despite the cuts and bruises this challenging life throws at them. A combustible blend of hard-nosed rhymes and compelling collaborations, “Got My Mind Made Up” hits right where it hurts, in the gritty, gutsy heart of golden-era hip-hop.

5 How Do U Want It

Features: K-Ci & JoJo

Verse to verse, ‘Pac crafts a vivid portrait of the fast life, underpinned by raw sexuality and brutal honesty. His lyrics reflect the struggle of growing up in the game, laced with a longing for simpler times. K-Ci & JoJo’s soulful chorus accentuates the dichotomy of ‘Pac’s struggle and desire. With lines like “Tell me, is it cool to fuck?/Did you think I come to talk? Am I a fool or what?”, ‘Pac strips away the pretense, confronting listeners with the stark realities of his world. But it’s the politically-charged verse against censorship and the government that showcases ‘Pac’s depth as an artist, unapologetically placing his heart on his sleeve and his finger on the pulse of societal corruption.

6 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted

Features: Snoop Dogg

Showcasing 2Pac’s acute storytelling and adept wordplay, the track laid bare the controversies trailing them. With a bruising beat as backdrop, Pac and Snoop painted a vivid picture of their lives under the microscope—the strife, the street life, and that unshakeable ‘us against the world’ mentality. Peep this line where Pac goes in: “I’m losin’ my religion, I’m vicious on these stool pigeons / You might be deep in this game, but you got the rules missing.” Demonstrating his panache for hitting where it hurts, the track is a clever mix of braggadocio and social commentary, laying it bare for those ready to dissect.

7 No More Pain

Over a menacing DeVante Swing beat, 2Pac delivers a powerfully candid narrative rooted in his reality, bursting with the kind of visceral energy that marked his career. He uses sharp lyricism to depict his struggles with adversaries, the gritty reality of street violence, his resilience as a survivor of multiple gunshot injuries, and his thirst for respect. His repeated assertion, “I came to bring the pain, hardcore to the brain,” serves as both a defiant rebuke to his detractors and a proclamation of his enduring toughness. In the powerful verse “My only fear of death is reincarnation / Heart of a soldier with a brain to teach your whole nation”, 2Pac encapsulates his fearlessness, intelligence and ambition to inspire, striking a balance between his street-hardened persona and his desire to uplift.

8 Heartz Of Men

His lyrical prowess is vicious on this track – herculean, no less. Unleashing the raw emotion of a man cornered, 2Pac counters with defiance. One standout line, “911, it’s an emergency, cowards tried to murder me/ From hood to the ‘burbs, every one of you niggas heard of me,” demonstrates Tupac’s firm grip on the reality of his life; he was a wanted man, but he retained his warrior spirit. His words reflect the societal and systemic issues that plagued his existence, and he expressed them with a grit that only he could master. In the end, “Heartz Of Men” serves as a testament to 2Pac’s ingrained resilience and unyielding spirit.

9 Life Goes On

Pac addresses raw themes of death, grief, and survival while painting vivid portraits of life in the hood. But it’s the juxtaposition of melancholy and resilience that hits hardest.

10 Only God Can Judge Me

Features: “Rappin 4-Tay”

2Pac, featuring the smooth storytelling of Rappin’ 4-Tay, delivers a gut-wrenching narrative about the harsh realities of a merciless system and the street turmoil. The song’s gritty lyrics dig into themes of betrayal, paranoia, and the struggle to survive, resonating with the anxieties within marginalized communities. A standout verse, “Perhaps I was blind to the facts, stabbed in the back / I couldn’t trust my own homies just a bunch of dirty rats,” encapsulates ‘Pac’s growing distrust towards even his closest circles, underpinning the constant threat permeating his life. This track, painted already in the bold colors of raw emotion and painful truth, is further amplified by its haunting chorus, an unapologetic declaration of resilience — ‘Pac making it clear that in the face of adversity, “Only God Can Judge Me.”

11 Tradin’ War Stories

Features: Storm, C-Bo, Outlawz, C-PO

The repeated chorus, “We outlaws on the rise. Jealous niggas I despise. Look in my eyes,” establishes both a sense of pride in their outlaw status and a deep-seated anger against their adversaries.

12 California Love

Features: Dr. Dre, Roger

The track, featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman, sees Pac and Dre paying homage to their state, portraying California as a wild, untamed frontier brimming with hedonism and danger—a state “untouchable like Elliot Ness.” The pair flip the narrative of the ‘Wild West’ into a metaphor for the turbulent and glamorous life in Cali—making it an emblem of their own audacious spirits. When Pac spits, “Out on bail fresh outta jail, California dreamin / Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin hoochies screamin”, it’s a bold assertion of his triumphant return and an unapologetic embrace of the allure and peril of the Californian streets. This lyrical testament to their domicile sees them drawing lines in the sand, declaring their coastal allegiance while challenging others to recognize their dominance.

13 I Ain’t Mad At Cha

Features: Danny Boy

Featuring the soulful vocals of Danny Boy, he lyrically explores the evolution of relationships, the inevitable changes that life and circumstances bring, and how these changes affect the dynamics of friendships. Exquisitely poignant, Pac drops jewels like, “Now we was once two niggas of the same kind / Quick to holla at a hoochie with the same line / You was just a little smaller but you still roller.” Acknowledging the divergence in paths taken by old homies, 2Pac’s words on this jam are a testament to the humanity that hip-hop can capture – the essence of its cornerstone values: loyalty, brotherhood, and respect.

14 What’s Ya Phone #

Features: Danny Boy

The track’s sexually charged lyrics are masterfully laced by 2Pac’s unparalleled storytelling skills. Danny Boy’s smooth vocals add a touch of R&B sensuality, creating a top-shelf G-Funk cocktail. A standout verse, “Money over bitches / Let me hear you say / What’z your phone number?” is quintessential 2Pac — a blend of his raw, unapologetic swagger and deep introspection. The lyrics – soaked in his singular blend of power, vulnerability, & abject honesty – ideally capture the complexities of navigating fame, fortune, and relationships. This ain’t just about bagging honeys; it’s about Pac’s struggle to stay grounded under the harsh glare of fame and fortune.

15 Can’t C Me

Over a monumentally potent Dr. Dre beat, 2Pac brandishes raw charisma as he maneuvers through verses punctuated by his indefatigable spirit. The track echoes his tenacity amidst the turmoil that engulfed his life, his rhymes steeped in resilient candidness. Confronting his enemies head-on, he proclaims, “You screamin’, go 2Pac, and I ain’t stoppin’ ’til I’m well-paid / Bail’s paid now, nigga, look what hell made”, forging a hard-hitting, cutthroat declaration of his relentless pursuit for success. Yet, the track’s unyielding ethos far surpasses petty conflicts, offering a profound exploration of 2Pac’s relentless struggle against the systemic oppression that sought to stifle him. The declaration “Niggas can’t see me!” is not just a metaphorical middle finger to his adversaries, but a rebellious assertion of his defiance against a society that overlooked him.

16 Shorty Wanna Be A Thug

This ain’t no glorification, it’s a vivid narration of an all-too-familiar tale of misguided youth ensnared by the thug life. ‘Pac, ever the master storyteller, guides us through the transformation of an innocent youngster into a hardened criminal, pressing the harsh reality of the streets into our consciousness. The hard-hitting line, “Was only 16, yet convicted as a felon / With a bunch of old n****s / But you the only one they telling,” underscores the bleak inevitability of the protagonist’s fate, as the societal odds stacked against him make it near impossible to envision a different outcome. With storytelling prowess, ‘Pac imparts a grim lesson – romanticizing the thug life can lead to a tragic dead end.

17 Holla At Me

The narrative woven through the jagged lyrics is one rooted in personal experiences, paranoia and disillusionment. Pac unearths the intertwining demons of friendship turned sour and the constant pressure of the street game. Standout lines like, “You infiltrated my team and sold a nigga’s dreams, How could you do me like that?”, illustrates the depth of his perceived betrayal. The recurring motif of the song, “Can’t let the evil of the money trap me,” reflects the dangers and moral complexities that come with fame and wealth. “Holla At Me” is a raw, cathartic outpouring from 2Pac displaying his fear, anger, and disappointment at friends turned foes, rendering it a key piece in the intricate puzzle that is ‘All Eyez on Me’.

18 Wonda Why They Call U Bytch

Tupac Shakur, as adept with social commentary as he was with story-telling, criticizes the systemic issues that contribute to these conditions, while also challenging the choices some individuals make within these confines. The line that hits hardest is perhaps, “Keep your head up, legs closed, eyes open / Either a nigga wear a rubber, or he die smokin'”. This illuminates the tough realities of street life—sex, drugs, and the looming presence of death. Throughout the song, the repeated phrase, “You wonda why they call you bitch”, acts as a provocation, pushing listeners to think critically about respect, values, and the power of labels in society.

19 When We Ride

Features: Outlaw Immortals

The forceful verses echo the streets’ harsh realities, sporting aliases like Makaveli and Hussein Fatal to symbolize their unapologetic embrace of outlaw status. A standout line, “Plus my alias is Makaveli, a loaded 357 with hollow points to a nigga belly,” exemplifies ‘Pac’s fierce lyrical punch, metaphorically likening himself to a deadly weapon. This track’s narrative constructs are straight-up G-speak, discussing their dogged survival and resistance against systemic oppression. With references to “chin checks and eye swolls” and “money hungry cops,” they frame their paradigm within the decaying urban sprawl, a universe where hope is scarce and violence is a language unto itself.

20 Thug Passion

Features: Jewell, Storm, Outlawz

This ain’t merely a love song, it’s an invitation into ‘Pac’s world, painting his lifestyle with a mix of hedonism and grit. The lyrics reveal a man torn between the lavish allure of success and the grim hardships of the streets. ‘Pac raps about this duality, his voice draped in bravado, classic Pac.

21 Picture Me Rollin’

Features: Big Syke, C-PO, Danny Boy

Delivered over a mellow G-Funk beat, Shakur’s narrative is layered with explicit references to his struggles, paranoia, and ambition. Ostensibly a celebration of his release, beneath the surface, there’s an undercurrent of criticism of the systemic forces that sought to cage him.

22 Check Out Time

2Pac, a lyrical maestro, blends humorous anecdotes with razor-sharp reflections on his hedonistic lifestyle. There’s a sense of camaraderie and hijinks amidst the hustle of collecting personal belongings and heading back to reality. Resonantly, ‘Pac spits, “They label me an outlaw, so it’s time for the panty raid / My fantasies came true, with Janet on, I’m in a Escapade.” The song is not merely a chronicle of high-life, but a celebration of living each moment to the fullest. However, beneath the braggadocio and humor, listeners might catch a whiff of transience, encapsulated in the song’s title and refrain, underscoring how fleeting fame, pleasure, and indeed life, can be.

23 Ratha Be Ya Nigga

Features: Richie Rich

The track pivots on ‘Pac’s unflinching push for brutal honesty: he’d rather be the “nigga” in a woman’s life than a conventional romantic figure. He proudly embraces his “Thug Life” persona, open about his desires and ambitions, using his lifestyle to question established relationship norms. The repeated line—”I’d rather be ya N-I-G-G-A, So we can get drunk and smoke weed all day, It don’t matter if you lonely baby, you need a thug in your life”—underscores his raw, unabashed approach, championing a certain brand of authenticity over polished pretense. It’s an intriguing look into ‘Pac’s outlook on relationships, the dynamics of masculinity, and his unapologetic embrace of his identity.

24 All Eyez On Me

Features: Big Syke

Big Syke)” is a testament to 2Pac’s charismatic nature and his uncanny ability to vividly depict his life experiences through his lyrics. The title track of his most iconic album, 2Pac lays bare his struggles of relentless scrutiny, unending ambition, and the dangerous allure of the thug lifestyle. The hard-hitting line, “Say they ready for the funk, but I don’t think they knowin’, straight to the depths of Hell is where those cowards goin'” exemplifies the confrontational stance that 2Pac adopted throughout his career. His art was his ammunition, and in this track, you can hear him firing off round after round of lyrical firepower, revealing the depths of a relentless pursuit of respect and equality.

25 Run Tha Streetz

Features: Storm, Mutah, “Michelle”

Featuring Michel’le, Storm, and Mutah, the song unfolds in a narrative style with each artist adding their own verse painting a complex picture of relationship dynamics in the street life. The dominant theme here is the duality of life – the struggle between personal desires versus responsibilities. 2Pac delivers lines that resonate with raw authenticity, such as “I ain’t never been tha type to wait at home alone / Just cause we bone / Don’t mean you own me / Nigga, I’m grown”. This lyric underscores the power dynamics in relationships, and insinuates the perpetual tension between commitment and autonomy that’s an all too common narrative in the rap game.

26 Ain’t Hard 2 Find

Features: E-40, Richie Rich, B-Legit, C-Bo

The narrative here is about survival, respect, and retribution within the gritty realities of the West Coast street life. 2Pac’s verse, “I heard a rumor I died, murdered in cold blood dramatized / Pictures of me in my final stage you know Mama cried / But that was fiction, some coward got the story twisted”, posits him as a resilient figure in an environment steeped in duplicity and danger. Influenced by crime and addicted to grinding, the artists on this track, including E-40, B-Legit, C-BO, and Richie Rich, assertively declare that they’re right there in the trenches, resisting erasure and making their presence felt, loud and clear. With its gritty realism and defiant tenor, it’s a potent testament to thriving under the harshest circumstances.

27 Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find

He paints a picture of intimate connections and vulnerability, a stark contrast to the thug-life persona often portrayed. As Pac straddles the line between sinner and saint, it’s lines like, “This thug passion help the average man love better. Picture me naked and glistenin’ beneath the moonlight mist,” that truly hits home. This record unveils Pac’s duality, his ability to both embody the stereotypical rap bravado while offering a softer, more personal narrative. It’s him pushing back against the label of just a ‘thug,’ showing his depth and understanding of love and the human condition. A charming example of Pac’s lyrical versatility, “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find” flips the script on its head with its earnest and sensuous confession.

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