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The 100 Best L.A. Rap Songs

81. 2Pac f/ K-Ci and JoJo "How Do U Want It" (1996)

Album: All Eyez on Me
Label: Death Row Records
Producer: Johnny "J"


One of 2pac's closest collaborators was Johnny Lee Jackson, a/k/a Johnny J, who was born in Ciudad Juarez and moved to L.A., like millions of children of his generation, in the 1970s. Jackson was responsible for 2Pac's stealthiest tracks, including “Death Around the Corner” and “All Eyez on Me.” He never made a better beat than “How Do U Want It,” which was based on an exceptionally ill sample of the 1974 Quincy Jones song “Body Heat.”

Beginning as a sex rap-“Baby just alleviate your clothes,” goes Pac's subtlest come-on-the song eventually succumbs to the deeply seductive yet forlorn undertone that was a recurring theme in Jackson's beats.

Tupac is inevitably pulled into an exploration of his history and his demons, including an on-point takedown of the era's political mouthpieces: “Delores Tucker, you's a motherfucker/Instead of tryin to help a nigga you destroy a brother/Worse than the others-Bill Clinton, Mr. Bob Dole/You're too old to understand the way the game is told.” The somber underpinnings of Jackson's beats was emphasized when the producer committed suicide in 2008, while incarcerated in downtown Los Angeles' country jail.

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