Provocative 1991 debut from Tupac Shakur. Features 'Brenda's Got A Baby' & 'Soulja's Story'.
All the elements that made this rap star great are already in place on this authoritative debut, released when he was not even yet of drinking age. "Young Black Male" and "Trapped" exemplify his more overtly political style, later abandoned when he signed up with the Death Row label; "Crooked Ass Nigga" is the kind of violent gangsta-rap tune that made 2Pac a bogeyman to the genre's foes. On "I Don't Give a Fuck," Shakur keeps his humor up while conveying the oppressive reaction a young black male encounters while performing the most mundane of tasks: buying some chips. "Brenda's Got a Baby" is a cautionary tale that shows Shakur at his poetic best: evocative and sympathetic, never condescending. The energetic production by 2Pac's Digital Underground
pals is fully focused on unleashing his strengths rather than simply rehashing the successful DU sound. --Gregg Turkington