This month marks the 25th anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s career-defining third album, Me Against The World. Widely considered to be the legendary artist’s best work, as well as one of the most influential albums in hip-hop history, Me Against The World has been commemorated with a special 180-gram 2LP vinyl reissue, available today from Interscope and Amaru Entertainment.
Me Against The World was recorded when 2Pac was just 23 years old, yet his emotionally-charged performance and poetic lyricism made him sound wise beyond his years. The artist’s pointed commentary on poverty, violence, and police oppression not only resonated deeply with a generation of fans but also cemented 2Pac as one of the greatest rappers in music history.
Released on 14 March, 1995, Me Against The World marked the rapper’s first chart-topping album, debuting at No.1 on both the Billboard 200 and well as on the R&B Albums chart. Me Against The World also earned 2Pac two Grammy nominations – for Best Rap Album as well as for Best Rap Solo Performance, for single ‘Dear Mama’.
The platinum-selling ‘Dear Mama’ was a starkly honest tribute to the rapper’s mother, activist Afeni Shakur, who was a strong influence on her son’s work. In the song, Shakur offered his deep appreciation for all that his mother did for him, despite the hardships that she struggled with. In 2009, the song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress, which recognises audio recordings that are “Culturally, historically, or aesthetically important”. It was the third hip-hop track to be added to the registry.
The album also included the hit single ‘So Many Tears’, the prophetically-titled ‘Death Around The Corner’, and the relationship-focused ‘Temptations’, which produced a memorable music video featuring Ice-T as a hotel concierge and Coolio as a bellboy. Cameos are also made by Isaac Hayes, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Kenya Moore, Warren G and Salt-n-Pepa’s DJ Spinderella, among many others.
Sadly, 2Pac’s life – and his enormous potential – was cut short tragically just one year after Me Against The World was released. Over the decades, his short catalogue of work remains highly influential. Me Against The World has been named on countless “Best Of” lists, while in 2008, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, in collaboration with NARM (the National Association of Recording Merchandisers), included the album on their “Definitive 200” list, which recognizes “history’s most influential and popular albums”.
Me Against The World is out now and can be bought here.