When Tupac Shakur was released from Clinton Correctional Facility on October 12, 1995, with a $1.4 million bond posted by Suge Knight, he was a man on a mission.
A number of incidents, including his sexual assault case and Quad Studios shooting, had left the rapper feeling paranoid and urgent, like time was quickly slipping away from him and he had to make the most of it.
On the same day he left Clinton, Pac went to the studio. “He didn’t go try to meet women,” said Dave Aron, a recording engineer who worked on All Eyez on Me. “He went straight to the studio like he was on a mission, and he recorded ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’ and ‘I Ain’t Mad At Cha.'”
The two songs would go on to become some of Pac’s most iconic tracks – “Ambitionz az a Ridah” has one of the greatest rap opening lines of all time, while “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” has been discussed and debated for decades, with rap fans looking to interpret hidden meanings about Pac’s relationship with The Notorious B.I.G.
“He was ready to go,” recalled Aron. “He was very hyped, very focused, a lot of energy – mad energy. And you could tell he was really one a mission. He really had a real vision of what was going on, and he wanted to get a lot done in that short amount of time.”
In the same XXL interview, fellow Death Row rapper Kurupt remembered Pac’s incredible work ethic and recording speed.
Kurupt: First day he came home, “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” – that was the first record that he did. Suge brought him in. The word went through the office that ‘Pac was home. Everybody [who were] at the studio at that time were up there. I came a little bit later, and when I came, Daz already had the beat started. ‘Pac wasn’t in the studio for any more than 45 minutes before he had his first verse done and laid. That fast. He didn’t even wanna chill; all he wanted to do was get on the mic. Whatever day he landed in Los Angeles, two hours after he landed, he had his first verse laid.The Making of 2Pac’s ‘All Eyez on Me’ Album | XXL