AEOM is a record to be enjoyed, but TDK has a deeper resonance. AEOM never goes as deep. it’s better produced. It’s a more successful, commercial pop record. But TDK is more like a blues record very much in the tradition of Robert Johnson. If Pac hadn’t died, I don’t know that TDK would have had the same enduring legacy. It was the combination of him releasing this record and dying that created this alchemical mix.
He does all sorts of amazing stuff artistically on AEOM. “Heartz Of Men” was DJ Quik at his best. When you listen to songs like “What'z Ya Phone #,” “California Love,” “I Ain’t Mad Atcha,” “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” “Ambitionz Az a Ridah,” “Shorty Wanna Be A Thug,” and “Thug Passion,” it’s a more complete picture of who Pac was overall—whereas TDK is a very specific part of him. He just goes deeper as Makaveli.
When you listen to it song for song, it’s a very close call. How do you compare 12 songs to 27? All the various records on All Eyez On Me kind of have a representative on Makaveli, but it’s really a tighter package.