|Me Against the World|
|Studio album by|
|Released||March 14, 1995 |
|Recorded||September 1993– November 1994|
|Singles from Me Against the World|
Me Against the World is the third studio album by American rapper 2Pac. It was released on March 14, 1995, by Interscope. 2Pac draws lyrical inspiration from his impending prison sentence, troubles with the police, and poverty.
According to 2Pac, Me Against the World was made to show the hip-hop audience his respect for the art form. Lyrically, he intentionally tried to make the album more personal and reflective than his previous efforts. Considered by several music critics to be the best of any of his albums up to that point in his career, the album's musical production was handled by his mentor Shock G, Easy Mo Bee, Tony Pizarro, Johnny "J" and the Danish hip-hop duo Soulshock and Karlin, among others. Me Against the World features guest appearances from rap group Dramacydal and rapper Richie Rich.
Released while Tupac was imprisoned, Me Against the World made an immediate impact on the charts, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200, holding the top spot for four consecutive weeks, and also topping the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. "Dear Mama" was released as the album's first single in February 1995 and would be the album's most successful single, topping the Hot Rap Singles chart, and peaking at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. While he was in prison, the album overtook Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits as the best-selling album of the year in the United States at the time.
Me Against the World was eventually certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). At the 38th Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for Best Rap Album and "Dear Mama" was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance. The album received acclaimed reviews by critics, being ranked among the best albums of the 1990s. It has been ranked by many critics as one of the greatest hip hop albums, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 2008, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), in conjunction with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, included Me Against the World in its list of the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time.
By 1994, Tupac Shakur, age 23, was already a prominent and controversial rapper. His second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. , going Platinum, had entered the top 25 on the Billboard 200, and offered two Gold singles, "I Get Around" and "Keep Ya Head Up", both entering the top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100.   In rapid succession, however, he had become involved in a string of violent encounters.
All for incidents in 1993, Shakur was sentenced to 15 days in jail for assaulting director Allen Hughes while filming Menace II Society , pled guilty to the attempted assault on a rival rapper and saw the charges dropped after he shot two off-duty police officers. Later that year, Shakur and two associates were charged with gang-raping a female fan in Shakur's hotel room, a charge he vehemently denied. In the ensuing trial, Shakur was acquitted of seven felonies, including rape, sodomy and gun charges, but was convicted of two counts of sexual abuse for unwanted touching and was subsequently sentenced to 18 months to 4.5 years in prison. On November 30, 1994, one day before the jury reached their verdict, Shakur was shot and robbed at gunpoint at the lobby of a New York recording studio. He believed the shooting was set up by East Coast associates and collaborators, such as The Notorious B.I.G., Andre Harrell and Sean "Puffy" Combs.
According to Shakur, Me Against the World aimed to show the hip-hop audience his respect for the art form. Shakur purposefully made Me Against the World's lyrics more personal and reflective than previously.  This was widely attributed to Shakur's growing maturity and perhaps an effort to reconcile with his troubled past.
Although originally released by Interscope, the album was later released twice by Amaru Entertainment, the label owned by Shakur's mother, Afeni Shakur.  The album was recorded at ten different studios, and it was mastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering by Brian Gardner. Several critics found the album's musical production the best on any of Shakur's albums to date.
Steve "Flash" Juon of RapReviews, scoring the production a perfect 10 of 10, particularly praised "So Many Tears" and "Temptations".  Jon Pareles of the New York Times called the production a "fatalistic calm, in a commercial mold", and added that "while 2Pac doesn't sing, other voices do, providing smooth melody".  Yet James Bernard of Entertainment Weekly , dissenting, complained that Shakur's "vocals are buried deep in the mix. That's a shame—if they were more in-your-face, the lackluster beats might be less noticeable." 
Me Against the World was really to show people that this is an art to me. That I do take it like that. And whatever mistakes I make, I make out of ignorance, not out of disrespect to music or the art. So Me Against the World was deep, reflective. It was like a blues record. It was down-home. It was all my fears, all the things I just couldn’t sleep about. Everybody thought that I was living so well and doing so good that I wanted to explain it. And it took a whole album to get it all out. It’s explaining my lifestyle, who I am, my upbringing and everything. It talks about the streets but talks about it in a different light. There’s a song on there dedicated to mothers, just a song I wrote just for my mother. And it digs deeper like that. I just wanted to do something for all mothers. I’m proud of that song. It affected a lot of people. — Tupac Shakur
Often depicting the travails of male survival in the ghetto,  prominent sentiments include anguish, despair, hopelessness, paranoia, and self-loathing.  Such dark tracks, sometimes simultaneously menacing, are "If I Die 2Nite", "Lord Knows", "Outlaw", and "Fuck The World". But there are exceptions. Nostalgic jubilance distinguishes "Old School"—a roster his favorite rap songs, with associated joys, predating his adulthood—while bittersweet optimism occurs in "It Ain't Easy".   "Can U Get Away" aims to flirtatiously encourage and lure a romantic interest away from her current, abusive relationship. And the track most popular, "Dear Mama", is a reverent ode to his mother.   Throughout the album, Shakur employs various poetical devices, such as alliteration ("If I Die 2Nite") and paired couplets ("Lord Knows"). 
Me Against the World debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 210,500 copies in the first week. The album held the top spot for four consecutive weeks.  The album also debuted at number one on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, thus giving 2Pac the first number one album on both R&B and Pop charts.  While Shakur was in prison, the album overtook Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits as the best-selling album in the United States, a feat which he took pride in.  Shakur became the first artist to have a number one album while serving a prison sentence.  On December 6, 1995, the album was certified double platinum for sales of over two million copies in the United States.  As of September 2011, the album has sold 3,524,567 copies in the United States. 
Shakur's virtual appearance at the annual Coachella Festival (April 15, 2012) led to the album selling 1,000 copies the following week (up by 53% from the previous week). 
"Dear Mama" was released as the album's first single in February 1995, along with the track "Old School" as the B-side.  "Dear Mama" would be the album's most successful single, topping the Hot Rap Singles chart, and peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The single was certified platinum in July 1995,  and later placed at No. 51 on the year-end charts.
It was reported that "Can U Get Away" was intended to be released as the next single with a music video directed by Shakur's longtime friend Jada Pinkett.  Instead, "So Many Tears" was released as the second single, in June 1995. It reached No. 6 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, and No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100. 
"Temptations," released in August, was the third and final single from the album.  The single is the least successful of the three released, but still did fairly well on the charts, reaching No. 68 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 35 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, and No. 13 on the Hot Rap Singles charts. 
"Me Against the World", the title track, was released as a single in Europe. It included the Soul Power Remix and the Soul Power Hip Hop Remix.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|Entertainment Weekly||B− |
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Source||4/5 |
|The Village Voice||C+ |
Me Against the World received critical acclaim. In a contemporary review, Cheo H. Coker at Rolling Stone called the album Shakur's best and said it was "by and large a work of pain, anger and burning desperation — [it] is the first time 2Pac has taken the conflicting forces tugging at his psyche head-on".  Jon Pareles, writing in The New York Times , called Shakur the "St. Augustine of gangster rap" due to his ambivalence towards the behavior and nature of the gangster lifestyle.  In his review for The Source , the leading hip-hop magazine in the United States, Allen Gordon hailed Shakur as an elite lyricist on display on the album, called it "his best work by far" and noted that "any complaints critics and fans alike had about Tupac's last two albums can be put to rest". He particularly praised the production and lyricism of the "incredible" title track, "So Many Tears", "Temptations", "Heavy in the Game", "Dear Mama" and "Old School", but also noted "It Ain't Easy", "If I Die 2Nite" and "Young Niggaz" as "notable" tracks. 
"This may be the first hip-hop blues LP," observed Matt Hall in Select . "Not so much in the music, although the harp blasts owe more to Howlin' Wolf than Tupac's previous two solo efforts, but more with Shakur's vocals, which are at once rebellious and resigned ... Me Against the World is a statement of intent, a note from the depths of America, and a fine, thoughtful LP."  In The Guardian , critic Caroline Sullivan observed a "surprisingly optimistic" and thoughtful 2Pac on display on the album, deeming it "worth a listen" despite criticizing the presence of "anodyne" beats and predictable samples. 
Jaleel Abdul-Adil of the Chicago Sun-Times stated that "2Pac's latest also mixes toughness and tenderness. Desperation follows raw anger on "Fuck the World" and "It Ain't Easy," but most tracks confess frailties beneath the rapper's tough exterior. "Dear Mama" is a tear-jerking tribute to his mother, "Lord Knows" discloses desperate considerations of suicide, and "So Many Tears" ponders a merciless world that wrecks young lives. 2Pac even includes a sorrowful "shout-out" to Robert Sandifer, the Chicago youth whose brief life ended in a brutal shooting. After earlier releases that lacked focus and consistency, 2Pac finally presents a polished project of self-examination and social commentary. It's ironic that it arrives as his sentence begins." 
Some reviewers were less impressed. James Bernard from Entertainment Weekly said, "2Pac does the black-man-backed-into-a-corner routine better than just about anyone because that's largely who he is. When he says it's 'me against the world,' there's an urgency that only comes from experience. On record, the rapper-turned-movie icon’s vocals are buried deep in the mix. That’s a shame-if they were more in-your-face, the lackluster beats might be less noticeable."  Robert Christgau of The Village Voice said Shakur witlessly exploited fundamental hip hop themes such as persecution while exhibiting an offensive level of self-pity: "His I-love-Mom rings true because Mom was no saint, and his respect for old G's seems genuine, probably because they told him how smart he was. But whether the metaphor be dead homies or suicide threat, the subtext of his persecution complex is his self-regard." 
Me Against the World was one of Tupac's most acclaimed albums, with many calling it the magnum opus of his career; the work is considered one of the greatest  and most influential hip hop albums of all time.  In a retrospective review, AllMusic editor Steve Huey dubbed the album "[Shakur's] most thematically consistent, least self-contradicting work", and stated, "it may not be his definitive album, but it just might be his best".  Steve "Flash" Juon of RapReviews seemed to feel differently, remarking that the album "is not only the quintessential Shakur album, but one of the most important rap albums released in the 1990s as a whole".  On MTV's Greatest Rappers of All Time list, Me Against the World was listed as one of Tupac's "certified classic" albums, along with 2Pacalypse Now , All Eyez on Me and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory .  "One of the best five rap albums ever," remarked Mojo , after Shakur's death. 
In 1996, at the 38th Grammy Awards, Me Against the World was nominated for Best Rap Album and the single "Dear Mama" was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance.   Me Against the World won Best Rap Album at the 1996 Soul Train Music Awards. In 2008, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, in conjunction with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, recognized Me Against the World as one of the "most influential and popular albums", ranking it number 170 on a list of 200 other albums by artists of various musical genres.  The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die . 
• The information regarding accolades is adapted from Acclaimed Music,  except for lists that are sourced otherwise.
• (*) signifies unordered lists
|New Nation||UK||Top 100 Albums by Black Artists||49|
|Gary Mulholland||261 Greatest Albums Since Punk and Disco||2006||*|
|Blender||United States||500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die||2003||*|
|Ego Trip||Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980–98||1999||7|
|Nude as the News||The 100 Most Compelling Albums of the 90s||47|
|Pause & Play||Albums Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Album per Week||*|
|Robert Dimery||1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die ||2005||*|
|The Source||The 100 Best Rap Albums of All Time||1998||*|
|About.com||100 Greatest Hip Hop Albums ||10|
|10 Essential Hip-Hop Albums ||2008||8|
|Best Rap Albums of 1995 ||2008||2|
|Complex (magazine)||The 90 Best Rap Albums of the '90s||2014||23|
|RollingOut||The 20 Greatest West Coast Hip-hop Albums Of All Time ||2013||2|
Credits adapted from the album's liner notes. 
|2.||"If I Die 2Nite"||Easy Mo Bee||4:02|
|3.||"Me Against the World" (featuring Dramacydal)||Soulshock and Karlin||4:41|
|4.||"So Many Tears"||D-Flizno Production Squad||3:59|
|5.||"Temptations"||Easy Mo Bee||5:01|
|7.||"Heavy in the Game" (featuring Richie Rich)||4:24|
|10.||"It Ain't Easy"||Tony Pizarro||4:54|
|11.||"Can U Get Away"||Mike Mosley||5:46|
|13.||"Fuck the World"||Shock G||4:14|
|14.||"Death Around the Corner"||Johnny "J"||4:07|
|15.||"Outlaw" (featuring Dramacydal)||Moe Z.M.D.||4:33|
Sample Credits 
Credits for Me Against the World adapted from AllMusic 
|United Kingdom (BPI) ||Gold||100,000*|
|United States (RIAA) ||2× Platinum||3,524,567 |
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. He is widely considered one of the most influential rappers of all time. Shakur is among the best-selling music artists, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide. Much of Shakur's music has been noted for addressing contemporary social issues that plagued inner cities, and he is considered a symbol of activism against inequality.
Greatest Hits is a posthumous double-disc greatest hits album by American rapper 2Pac, released by Amaru Entertainment, Death Row Records, and Interscope Records on November 24, 1998.
2Pacalypse Now is the debut studio album by American rapper 2Pac. It was released on November 12, 1991, by Interscope. 2Pacalypse Now is Tupac's commentary on contemporary social issues facing American society, such as racism, police brutality, poverty, black on black crime, and teenage pregnancy. It featured three singles: "Brenda's Got a Baby", "Trapped", and "If My Homie Calls".
Tupac: Resurrection is a soundtrack album for the Academy Award-nominated documentary of the same name. It was released on November 14, 2003 by Amaru Entertainment and Interscope Records.
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is the fifth studio album by American rapper Tupac Shakur, his first posthumous album and the last released with his creative input. Recorded in seven days in August 1996, it was released on November 5, 1996, almost two months after his death, under the stage name of Makaveli, through Death Row Records, Makaveli Records, and Interscope Records.
Better Dayz is the eighth studio album and fourth posthumous album by the late American rapper 2Pac, and is his last to be a double-album.
"California Love" is a song by American rapper 2Pac featuring fellow American rapper-producer Dr. Dre and American singer Roger Troutman. The song was released as 2Pac's comeback single after his release from prison in 1995 and was his first single as the newest artist of Death Row Records. The remix is featured on the UK version of his fourth album, All Eyez on Me (1996), and is one of 2Pac's most widely known and most successful singles. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks and also topped the charts of Italy, New Zealand, and Sweden. The song was posthumously nominated Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1997.
Raymond Tyson, better known by his stage name Ray Luv, is an American Bay Area rapper from Santa Rosa, California, United States, who is best known for his contribution to the Bay Area hip hop scene in the mid 1990s.
R U Still Down? is the sixth studio album and second double album by American rapper, 2Pac, released on November 25, 1997. It is his second posthumous release and the first to be released without his creative input and contains previously unreleased material from the time period of his albums Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., Thug Life: Volume 1 and Me Against the World. Throughout the album, 2Pac airs his views on life from a time before he became involved in the controversial East Coast–West Coast rivalry. His lyrics foreshadow his death in songs like "Open Fire", "Thug Style" and "Only Fear of Death." The album spawned two hits, "Do for Love" and "I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto", of which "Do for Love" was certified Gold by the RIAA. R U Still Down? sold 549,000 copies in its first week, reached multi-Platinum status in under a month, and topped the R&B charts in the United States for three weeks.
Thug Life, Volume I is the only studio album by American hip hop group Thug Life started by American rapper Tupac Shakur (2Pac) and also comprising Big Syke, The Rated R, Macadoshis and Mopreme Shakur, Tupac's stepbrother. It was released on October 11, 1994, through Interscope and Atlantic Records. The album features guest appearances by Y.N.V. and Nate Dogg and production by Warren G, Easy Mo Bee, Big Syke and Stretch.
"Changes" is a song by American rapper 2Pac featuring vocals by the group Talent first released as a single from Shakur's greatest hits compilation on October 13, 1998. The song makes references to the war on drugs, the treatment of black people by the police, racism, the reconciliation between the black and white people in America, the perpetuation of poverty and its accompanying vicious-cycle value system in urban African American culture, and the difficulties of life in the ghetto. "Changes" samples Bruce Hornsby and the Range’s song "The Way It Is".
"I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto" is a song by American rapper 2Pac. It was released as the first single from the posthumous album R U Still Down? . The original version, titled "I Wonda if Heaven's Got a Ghetto", was released as a B-side on the 1993 single, "Keep Ya Head Up".
"Dear Mama" is a song by American rapper 2Pac from his third studio album, Me Against the World (1995). It was released on February 21, 1995, as the lead single from the album. The song is a tribute to his mother, Afeni Shakur. In the song, Shakur details his childhood poverty and his mother's addiction to crack cocaine, but argues that his love and deep respect for his mother supersede bad memories. The song became his first top ten on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number nine. It also topped the Hot Rap Singles chart for five weeks. As of March 2021, the song is certified 3× Platinum by the RIAA.
Pac's Life is the tenth and final studio album by American rapper 2Pac. It is also his seventh posthumous album, released on November 21, 2006, in the United States, on Amaru Entertainment. Its 2006 release date was intended to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his murder. The album debuted at number nine on the US Billboard 200 chart.
"Temptations" is a song by American rapper Tupac Shakur (2Pac) from his third studio album, Me Against the World (1995). It was released as a single in the US on August 29, 1995, and was released as a CD, cassette, and 12" promo. While rapping is solely performed by Shakur, Erick Sermon and producer Easy Mo Bee are also featured in the song primarily as background vocalists. The song uses the bassline from the "Computer Love", and the theme focuses on relationship and infidelity issues. Debuting at number sixty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100, the song did fairly well in the United States. It was also well received by critics, with many writers commenting on its romantic tone.
"Still Ballin'" is a song by American rapper Tupac Shakur from the 2002 posthumous album Better Dayz. The song was released as a promo single in 2003 and features Trick Daddy. It is part two of the song "Str8 Ballin'" from the album Thug Life Vol. 1. On the album, Better Dayz, the song is listed under the name "Still Ballin' ", due to the song not being the original version. The original version, produced by Johnny "J" and featuring Kurupt, was recorded in 1995 during the All Eyez on Me sessions and has never been officially released.
All Eyez on Me is the fourth studio album by American rapper 2Pac and the last to be released during his lifetime. Released on February 13, 1996, by Death Row and Interscope Records, the album features guest appearances from Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Redman, Method Man, Nate Dogg, Kurupt, Daz Dillinger, E-40, K-Ci & JoJo, and the Outlawz, among others.
"So Many Tears" is a song by American rapper 2Pac from his third studio album, Me Against the World (1995). It was released on June 13, 1995, as the album's second single. It was produced by Shock G, who used a sample of Stevie Wonder's That Girl, and is often described as one of the album's best. A music video was made for "So Many Tears" and there were also numerous live performances of this song on Saturday Night Live and on Shakur's House of Blues concert, his last recorded show.
"Runnin'" is a 1995 song by rappers 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Stretch, Dramacydal and Buju Banton. The song is significant, being one of very few compositions 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. created together, as later hostility arose between the two rappers, ending all possible collaborations and inciting the East-West Coast Rivalry. The song, originally slated to appear on Thug Life's 1994 debut album, Thug Life, Volume I, and 2Pac's 1995 album, Me Against The World, was scrapped both times due to varying controversies. It was later featured on the 1995 One Million Strong compilation album. The song was released by Black Jam as an unofficial single in 1997 after the death of the two rappers. It charted at #81, #57 and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks & Hot Rap Singles charts, respectively.
Craig Venegas Alvarado, known by his stage name DJ King Assassin, is an American disc jockey, producer, and engineer from Los Angeles, California.