2CD Previously Released Songs From The Makiaveli Period
appears six years after 2pac's death. During that time his estate has released a dizzying array of questionable posthumous material--with much more to come in 2003, by the way. (The liner notes list documentary soundtracks, another unreleased double album, DVDs etc.)
On the first disc's "Intro" an unnamed street reporter wonders "Where are these songs coming from?" After repeated listens, your best guess would be from his unfinished studio outtake reels. Nevertheless, these tracks were apparently recorded during his prolific and vexed Makaveli stage. "When We Ride on Our Enemies" demonstrates much vitriol, as Pac's verses are littered with fightin' words for rappers like Mobb Deep and Da Brat. Likewise, "F*** Em All" hurls threats to the late Notorious B.I.G., reminding fans of the time when media-induced East Coast/West Coast feuds were way out of control.
The ghetto Elvis's tales of slum grandeur reach their zenith when he serves up his explicit boasts to women on "Fair Exchange". Gripping. It's too bad the last track on disc one, an acoustic version of "Thugz Mansion", undermines much of the credibility of this project. When the vocals of Pac's alleged enemy Nas are mixed in to appear like he's sitting next to Pac by a fireplace, all warm and toasty and sharing rhymes, you immediately smell the influence of executive producer Suge Knight.
The second disc is just as dodgy, but might resonate more with new fans simply wanting to hear good beats and rhymes. "Never Call U B**** Again" is a tidy love song that R&B crooner Tyrese complements well, while the title track guesting Ronald "Mr. Biggs" Isley provides a necessary escape from much of Pac's brooding imagery. In the end, the quandary of this double disc has nothing to with Pac but with the middling G-funk-lite beats of producer Johnny "J" and the involvement of Suge Knight. This one's for collectors and curious onlookers. --Dalton Higgins