Thug Life: Volume 1

Last updated
Thug Life: Volume 1
Thug Life.gif
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 26, 1994
Genre Hardcore hip hop, [1] G-funk [1]
Label Interscope
2Pac chronology
Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z...
Thug Life: Volume 1
Me Against the World
Singles from Volume 1
  1. "Pour Out a Little Liquor"
    Released: August 23, 1994
  2. "Cradle to the Grave"
    Released: November 4, 1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg link
Entertainment Weekly A− link
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [2]
Select U+25A0.svgU+25A0.svgU+25A0.svgU+25A0.svgU+25A1.svg [3]
Sputnikmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg link

Thug Life: Volume 1 is the only studio album by American hip hop group Thug Life, started by rapper Tupac Shakur, it was released on September 26, 1994 by Interscope Records. The group featured Big Syke, Macadoshis, Mopreme, The Rated R and Tupac Shakur.



Due to heavy criticism on gangsta rap at the time, the original version of the album was scrapped and re-recorded with many of the original songs being cut. The album only contains ten tracks because Interscope Records felt many of the other recorded songs were too controversial to release. It has been said that 2Pac created two other versions of this album, with many of the songs still remaining unreleased. [4] Several of these unreleased recordings include a 4 verse solo version of Bury Me A G with two new 2Pac verses, a radio version of Bury Me A G with another new unreleased verse by 2Pac and two alternate recordings of Str8 Balllin', which include never before released adlibs by the rapper.

Although the original version of the album never came to fruition as the album went through a number of changes, Tupac performed the planned first single from the album, "Out on Bail" at the 1994 Source Awards. [5] Although the album was originally released on Interscope Records, Amaru Entertainment, the label owned by Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, gained the rights to it. Thug Life: Volume 1 was certified Gold. The track "How Long Will They Mourn Me?" appeared later in 1998 from 2Pac's Greatest Hits album. [6]

It sold 500,000 copies in the United States in 1994. [7]

In commemoration of its twenty-fifth anniversary, it was released on vinyl on November 22, 2019. In 2019, Universal Music Group posted the video version to the song "How Long Will They Mourn Me?" to their YouTube channel. This version features an alternate verse by 2Pac with different lyrics that was not issued on the album. [8]

Critical reception

"Full of machismo and do or die stances," wrote Jake Barnes in Q , "the lyrics' hardcore posturing is perversely undercut by sweet and delicate backings from artists like Curtis Mayfield, George Clinton and The Isley Brothers." [2]

"A shockingly considered, thoughtful rap record," opined Select's Matt Hall. "And a very chilling one." [3]

Track listing

1."Bury Me a G" (featuring Natasha Walker)
  • D. Rivers
  • Rated R
  • M. Harding
  • T. Shakur
  • T. Himes
Thug Music4:58
2."Don't Get It Twisted"
  • M Harding
  • W. Burns
  • T. Himes
3."Shit Don't Stop" (featuring Y.N.V.) Thug Music3:46
4."Pour Out a Little Liquor"T. Shakur Johnny "J" 3:29
5."Stay True"
  • M. Harding
  • R. Walker
  • T. Shakur
Thug Music3:09
6."How Long Will They Mourn Me?" (featuring Nate Dogg) 
7."Under Pressure"
  • R. Walker
  • T. Shakur
Thug Music4:32
8."Street Fame"
  • M. Harding
  • W. Burns
  • T. Himes
Stretch 4:00
9."Cradle to the Grave" 
10."Str8 Ballin'"T. Shakur Easy Mo Bee 5:04
Total length:42:28


Chart (1994–95)Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 [9] 42
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums [10] 6


RegionCertification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA) [11] Gold500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Related Research Articles

Tupac Shakur American rapper and songwriter from California

Tupac Amaru Shakur, better known by his stage name 2Pac and by his alias Makaveli, was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor. He is considered by many to be one of the most influential rappers of all time. Much of Shakur's work has been noted for addressing contemporary social issues that plagued inner cities, and he is considered a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality.

<i>Me Against the World</i> 1995 studio album by 2Pac

Me Against the World is the third studio album by American rapper 2Pac, released on March 14, 1995, by Interscope Records. Drawing lyrical inspiration from his impending prison sentence, troubles with the police, and poverty, the album is described as being 2Pac's most introspective album. 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. The musical production on the album was considered by several music critics to be the best on any of his albums up to that point in his career.

<i>The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory</i> 1996 studio album by 2Pac

The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is the fifth studio album by American rapper Tupac Shakur, credited as the alias Makaveli. It was released on November 5, 1996, almost two months after his death, and was released through Death Row Records and Interscope Records. It is his only album released under a new alternative stage name, Makaveli. The album was originally scheduled for release in March 1997, but as a result of his death, Suge Knight released it five months earlier.

<i>Loyal to the Game</i> 2004 studio album by 2Pac

Loyal to the Game is the ninth studio album and fifth posthumous studio album by Tupac Shakur. It contains remixes of previously unreleased music recorded by Shakur before his death in 1996. Released in the United States on December 14, 2004. The album was mainly produced by Eminem. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Outlawz American hip hop group

The Outlawz was an American hip hop group founded by rapper Tupac Shakur in late 1995 after Shakur's release from prison. Collectively, they were best known for their association with Shakur.

<i>Better Dayz</i> 2002 studio album by 2Pac

Better Dayz is the eighth studio album and fourth posthumous album by the late American rapper 2Pac, the third to be released without the artist's creative input and is the last to be a double-album.

Hit Em Up

"Hit 'Em Up" is a diss song by hip hop artist 2Pac featuring The Outlawz, a group associated with him. It is the B-side to the single "How Do U Want It", released on June 4, 1996. The song's lyrics contain vicious insults to several East Coast rappers, chief among them, Shakur's former-friend-turned-rival, Christopher Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls. The song was recorded at Can Am Studios in May 1996. Reporter Chuck Philips, who interviewed Shakur at Can Am, described the song as caustic anti-East Coast crusade in which the rapper threatens to eliminate Biggie, Sean Combs (Puffy), and a slew of Bad Boy artists and other New York acts." The song was produced by long-time collaborator Johnny "J" and uses the bassline from "Don't Look Any Further" by Dennis Edwards and interpolates 10% Dis by MC Lyte, and "Get Money" by Biggie's group Junior M.A.F.I.A. The video, itself described as infamous, includes impersonations of Biggie, Puffy and M.A.F.I.A. member Lil' Kim.

<i>R U Still Down? (Remember Me)</i> 1997 studio album by 2Pac

R U Still Down? is the sixth and 2nd Posthumous studio album by American rapper, 2Pac, released on November 25, 1997, and the first to be finished without his creative input. Tupac left a large body of work behind, this was the first release from his mother's imprint, Amaru Entertainment, set up to control 2Pac's posthumous releases. The album 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. The album title was named after several handwritten tracklist by 2Pac from 1993 and 1994 that featured both unreleased songs and material that would be issued on "Me Against The World" & "Thug Life Vol. 1". Interscope also planned a 1995 version of "R U Still Down" album that also included a different tracklisting. However, this version was never released due to 2Pac signing to Death Row Records.

<i>Still I Rise</i> (album) 1999 studio album by 2Pac + Outlawz

Still I Rise is a collaboration album by 2Pac and the Outlawz. The album excludes some of the original line up of the Outlawz, including Hussein Fatal, who had left the group as he had refused to sign to Death Row. The album contains all previously unreleased, albeit remixed material. It was released on December 21, 1999, by Death Row Records and Interscope Records.

Live Squad was an American hip hop group and production team from Hollis, Queens, New York consisting of brothers Stretch and Majesty and DJ K-Low, best known for their early collaborations with Tupac Shakur.

<i>Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z...</i> 1993 studio album by 2Pac

Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z... is the second studio album by American rapper 2Pac, released by Interscope Records on February 16, 1993. N.I.G.G.A. in the title is punctuated to refer to 2Pac's backronym "Never Ignorant in Getting Goals Accomplished". The album features guest appearances from the group Live Squad, 2Pac's stepbrother The Wycked, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Treach, Apache, Poppi, Deadly Threat, R&B singer Dave Hollister and Digital Underground.

Dear Mama 1995 single by Tupac Shakur

"Dear Mama" is a song by American hip hop recording artist 2Pac, released on February 9, 1995, as the lead single from his third studio album, Me Against the World. 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 topped the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart for five weeks and also peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was certified Platinum by the RIAA on July 13, 1995.

Stretch (rapper) American rapper and record producer

Randy Walker, of the stage name Stretch, was an American rapper and record producer, working in Live Squad. In the early 1990s, he joined 2Pac's rap group Thug Life. The November 30, 1994, shooting of Shakur led to their split. On November 30, 1995, Stretch was fatally shot.

Temptations (song)

"Temptations" is a song by rap artist Tupac Shakur (2Pac) from the album Me Against the World. It was released as a single 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.

"Who Shot Ya?," or often, without the question mark, "Who Shot Ya," is a song by gangsta rapper The Notorious B.I.G., commonly called Biggie Smalls, backed and produced by Puff Daddy. It was released by Puffy's emerging record label, Bad Boy Records, on February 21, 1995, on the B side of an alternate reissue of Biggie's single "Big Poppa/Warning," out since December 5, 1994. While the A side's "Big Poppa" was already a big pop hit, the reissue's closing track, "Who Shot Ya?"—with menacing lyrics delivered deftly—swiftly became a massive hit on the streets, and highly influential. Biggie's most infamous classic, it was also controversial. Despite never naming him, it started a "rap battle" with rapper Tupac.

<i>All Eyez on Me</i> 1996 studio album by 2Pac

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 Records and Interscope Records, All Eyez on Me features guest appearances from several artists including The Outlawz, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, E-40, Redman, Method Man, Tha Dogg Pound, K-Ci & JoJo, Roger Troutman, among others. The album features productions by Shakur alongside a variety of producers, including DJ Quik, Johnny "J", Dr. Dre, Rick Rock, Daz Dillinger, DJ Pooh, DeVante Swing, among others.

"Runnin' from tha Police" is a 1995 song by rapper Tupac Shakur, featuring The Notorious B.I.G., Stretch, and Dramacydal. 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 1, and 2Pac's 1995 album, Me Against The World, was scrapped both times due to varying controversies. It was later finally featured on the 1995 One Million Strong compilation album. The song charted at #81, #57 and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks & Hot Rap Singles charts, respectively, in 1997.

Johnny Lee Jackson, professionally known as Johnny "J", was a Mexican-American multi-platinum songwriter, music producer and rapper best known for his early career with Death Row Records, and for his work with 2Pac on Me Against the World and All Eyez on Me, as well as 2Pac's posthumously released albums. He was born in Juárez, Mexico, in 1969 and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Johnny "J" was co-owner and CEO of Klock Work Entertainment.

Thug Life American hip hop group

Thug Life was an American hip hop group that consisted of 2Pac, Stretch, Big Syke, Mopreme, Macadoshis, and The Rated R. They released one album, 1994's Thug Life: Volume 1, before disbanding in 1995.

DJ King Assassin

Craig Venegas Alvarado, known by his stage name DJ King Assassin, is an American disc jockey, producer, and engineer from Los Angeles, California.


  1. 1 2 "Thug Life, Vol. 1 – Thug Life – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  2. 1 2 Q , February 1995
  3. 1 2 Select , January 1995
  4. DJ Vlad (April 25, 2016). "Thug Life Details Meeting 2Pac, Gang Affiliation, Pac's Thug Life Tattoo" . Retrieved November 26, 2016 via YouTube.
  5. "2Pac - Out On Bail (live 1994)". YouTube. 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  6. "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  7. "Tupac Month: 2Pac's Discography" . Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  8. Shakur, Tupac. "Thug Life - How Long Will They Mourn Me? ft. Nate Dogg". YouTube. Universal Music Group. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  9. "Thug Life Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard . Retrieved 2019-11-12.
  10. "Thug Life Chart History: Top R&B Albums". Billboard . Retrieved 2019-11-12.
  11. "American album certifications – Thug Life – Volume 1". Recording Industry Association of America.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.