I think everyone who was a fan of hip-hop, even casually knows where they were on September 13, 1996. 2Pac was pronounced dead and with all due respect to Eazy E, it was the most shocking and heartbreaking moment for the hip-hop community ever at that time. What would come on November 5, 1996 was the final chapter of one of the most important careers in hip-hop history, as Pac released an album under the alias “Makaveli” and an album called, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.
Pac was undoubtedly the biggest and brightest star in our hip-hop world and what he accomplished even in his final 9 months in hip-hop hasn’t been accomplished by many artist whose time in the game has doubled his.
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is something like a classic, but definitely a historic moment in hip-hop and probably in Pac’s Top 3 as far as albums.
Never before had there been an artist in rap music that wasn’t alive that was dropping an album. The buzz, anticipation and conversation from September 13 to November 5th was unreal. The thought that ran through my mind was, How is a Pac album going to come out and he’s not here? Who approved what? Will the album be any good? Pac had already put out a double album in February of 96. So to drop another full album in the fall of the same year, that would be good, was literally unbelievable at the time. Long story short, Pac pulled off the unbelievable.
I remember all the “clues” that were supposed to be about Pac’s death that were supposed to be “hidden” in the album. Erie clues like how you can hear “Suge Shot Me” before the reporter starts talking on the intro of “Bomb First”. And the hidden messages that were supposed to be in “Hail Mary”.
Then there was the unmistakable “California Love Part 2; Without Gay A$$ Dre” at the end of “To Live & Die In L.A.”
But nothing was more clear than “Bomb First” [My Second Reply] which was the sequel to “Hit Em Up.” Bad Boy, Jay-Z, and Mobb Deep all get slapped in the beginning of the album and Nas takes a few bars on the chin to end the album on “Against All Odds.”
Pac was the first rapper to make people hate rappers. I remember some of my homey’s being mad at Nas and Biggie like they went to school with us. And don’t dare say you liked their music. That was instant anger. You don’t know how hard it was being a fan of them two when “Hit Em Up” and this album dropped.
Although Pac claims the realest ish he ever wrote was on the last song, you can’t tell me “Blasphemy” isn’t pages out of the surviving mans Bible.
Trump just won the election. Listen to “White Man’z World” NOW! Then think that he literally said that 20 years ago at the age of 25.
I give the Outlawz a hard time, but they are on my favorite song on this album, “Just Like Daddy.”
Deceased rappers putting out great albums is nothing new today, but in 1996, it was an unheard of event that was met with a somber and regretful, “Damn man…Pac gone.” I think it’s fair to say there wasn’t an expectation for this album. We didn’t expect shows or interviews and I definitely didn’t expect a real video. Watching the “Toss It Up” video used to give me an odd chill that I still can’t explain to this day.
This album made you want to know what else Pac had to say. It was a prelude. The Makaveli concept wasn’t a one off album. It’s no way it could be. I always believed that Pac was going to be what Killer Mike and David Banner are to us now, but with the largest possible platform that represents not only hip-hop, but black people. Pac survived the system and a few rounds of the street life. Pac was raised in a Black Pride and Panther Powered home and was sick of everybody that wasn’t for “US” and our progression. He was going to be “Black Lives Matter”, with a soundtrack for the young, gifted and black.
All the above is why Makaveli is the last Pac album I listened to…