What many people consider to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time was released 27 years ago today (March 14).
After the successes of his first two albums ‘2Pacalypse Now’ (1991) and ‘Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z…’ (1993), Tupac Shakur dropped ‘Me Against The World’ in 1995. The rapper’s third album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts selling 215,100 copies in its first week (the first number one album on both R&B and Pop charts). The album held the top spot for four consecutive weeks. “Me Against The World” marked 2Pac’s first number one album. These accomplishments were huge but they were even bigger due to the circumstances under which Pac achieved them.
On February 8, 1995, Shakur began serving a jail sentence that would end up being around eight months for sexual assault. The album was released just a month later and with its success, Tupac became the first artist ever to have a Billboard number one album while serving a prison sentence. While incarcerated, ‘Me Against The World’ overtook Bruce Springsteen‘s Greatest Hits as the current best-selling album of the year in the United States. Tupac was eventually released on bail on October 12, 1995 for $1.4 million. Bail was posted by Suge Knight, who signed Shakur to a contract while he was behind bars. On December 6, 1995 the album was certified double platinum.
In addition to the sexual assault case, Tupac had other court run-ins for various incidents and was also shot leading up to the release of the album. He gained motivation from all the things that were transpiring in his life at the time. With this album, he aimed to show the hip-hop audience his respect for the art form. Shakur made it his mission to make sure the lyrics on ‘Me Against The World’ were more personal and reflective the any of his previous work. This thought process was attributed to his growing maturity and perhaps an effort to reconcile with his troubled past. Album standouts “Dear Mama,” “So Many Tears,” and “Temptations” all exemplified his growth in music and ability to mix toughness and tenderness into one. ‘Me Against The World’ is considered the last album 2Pac released that was “conscious rap” before abandoning the style for more “volatile gangsta rap.”
Although his content might’ve changed, the results didn’t. Tupac would go on to sell over 75 million records worldwide which made him one of the highest-selling artists of all time and many would say most influential.
In fact, he is so influential that he and his work are currently part of an exhibit at L.A. Live in Los Angeles called ‘Wake Me When I’m Free.’ The exhibit showcases the life, music, and poetry of the iconic rapper.
It’s being called part museum, part art installation and part sensory experience and even features never-before-seen artifacts.
It’s safe to say that Tupac’s impact on our culture will live on forever. What’s your favorite song off of Me Against The World? Where do you rank it amongst his other albums? Be sure to let us know in the comments and stream the timeless masterpiece today.