Producer: The Underground Railroad
Album: 2pacalypse Now
A bluesy funk sound swept over hip-hop in the early '90s and Pac was starting to synthesize the west coast gangster funk with Black Panther agitprop. The influence of Bay Area pioneers Too $hort, Digital Underground and E-40 is fully evident here. The deep rolling bassline and bluesy organ are part of a sound that producers like Shock G turned into hits like “Humpty Hump” and would ultimately morph into Hyphy.
Still a young MC, Tupac wrote articulate dispatches about America's war on black manhood, articulating the pain and confusion of a person watching his options dwindle without sounding defeated. His crisp descriptions of police brutality were cut with righteous rage. Tupac sounds like he is swimming against the tide on this track.
His flow feels antiquated when compared to New York rhyme patterns at the time, but he finds his own grooves over this thick west coast production. Slower and more melodic than his east coast peers, Pac's singsong style is somehow comforting—even when spitting about the violence and paranoia of the street life.