First off: I’m happy to have music to listen to by 2Pac. I lived in Las Vegas during his rise and fall. If you were a black kid listening to hip-hop then and there, 2Pac was it. I was just shy of 11 when Pac died, and listening to him talking revolutionary shit at that age was highly influential for me.
That being said, I’m slightly bothered by the lack of context surrounding his posthumous work. Much respect to the fact that he had so much of it, but since he’s not here to orchestrate how it gets put out, we don’t really get to experience Pac’s full evolution as a rapper, revolutionary and person. We also don’t know if his work is being put out the way he intended to, or if he ever intended to release it all. Maybe there are private journals I’m not privy to, and he wanted to release everything that has been, without reworking any of it.
Take these two songs to illustrate what I’m talking about: “Wonda Why They Call U Bitch” (released 1996; recorded?) vs “Never Call You Bitch Again” (released posthumously, but performed in 1996 from what I know). In the former, he was indicting women for acting a certain way. Did he have a change of heart about telling women how to act, or did not calling women bitch apply to just his “partner” and “rider woman friend” he was talking to in the latter? These are questions we’ll never know the answer to.
Given the possibility that we’re listening to Pac’s work out of order and out of context, a part of me would be perfectly happy with his smaller body of work. I also wish he was hiding out in Cuba too though, so…