1995 was an interesting year for Tupac Shakur. After being shot while entering a recording studio in late 1994, and subsequently blaming Bad Boy Records for “setting him up”, ‘Pac began a prison sentence for sexual assault in February ’95. A month later, while still in jail, his third solo album Me Against The World was released. Me Against The World is clearly a landmark album for 2Pac, as it marked the beginning of the lyrical style that he has become best known for. His first two releases, 2Pacalypse Now and Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. were both very good albums in their own right, but Me Against The World was the album to really thrust 2Pac into the conversation of the greatest MC’s of his time.
Content wise, I would describe Me Against The World in two simple words: deep and real. It’s a departure from his first two albums, where the main themes were social and political change, as here 2Pac instead sheds light on his own personal issues. Me Against The World is all about ‘Pac showing you his true colors; how he feels about life, women, money, friends, drugs, and anything else that was plaguing his mind at the time. The entire album is like a journey deep into 2Pac’s mind, with each track revealing a different part. Song themes range from women (Temptations, Can U Get Away), to family (Dear Mama), to the youth (Young Niggaz), to his love for hip hop (Old School). Me Against The World also marks the beginning of 2Pac’s infamous infatuation with death, and his accompanying paranoia (Death Around The Corner, If I Die 2Nite).
“If I could choose when a nigga die, figure I’d
take a puff on the blunt, and let my trigga fly” (Lord Knows)
Most will argue that All Eyez On Me is 2Pac’s best album, but I would have to give Me Against The World a slight edge. That’s no knock on All Eyez On Me; it’s a very close call and both would honestly be in my top 10 albums of all time, but Me Against The World is just closer to perfection. The album is really the perfect glimpse into 2Pac’s mind in arguably the most hectic time of his career, put together without any filler and full of standout tracks. If you’re a hip hop fan and have yet to explore this album for yourself, do yourself a favor and check it out. Here’s a personal favorite to get you started: Lord Knows