I guess in retrospect it’s nice to hear rap that isn’t about bling and rims. Granted, 2Pac is still kind of a one note guy. His music is about being hard. At best this one tries to ride the anti-America, pro-black gangster style of Ice Cube. This is an album filled with Tupac trying to find his own voice. The lyrics are less mature, but somehow the songs seem better constructed than those on some of his later albums. Maybe I just love sampling. There is still a trace of youthful enthusiasm and humor here that’s missing from his later work. Despite this, the blueprint for the violent, paranoid walking contradiction was well laid out here. At least there’s less crappy r&b singing all over the place, and the predictions of his death are more subdued. He is not yet larger than life, but merely a hungry rapper looking to make a name for himself.