2Pac, Until the End of Time (2001)
Until The End of Time is the third album of posthumous 2Pac material. The first, R U Still Down, focused on his Interscope work and the second, Still I Rise, featured his songs with protégé group the Outlawz. This two-CD set, the first of two planned releases, compile tracks he recorded while on Death Row, which his mother, Afeni Shakur, dubs his “Makaveli period.” However, Until The End of Time‘s 28 songs (plus a “shout out” from Big Syke) aren’t raw demos. Instead, they’ve been remixed for potential radio airplay. Some, such as “Niggaz Nature” with Lil’ Mo and “Thug N U Thug N Me” with K-Ci and Jo-Jo are clearly marked as remixes. But for the most part, Amaru, the record label set up by Afeni to handle 2Pac’s music, doesn’t say how much extra music has been added to these recordings. Multi-tracked to death, Until The End of Time lacks the intensity that made the original Makaveli’s Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory so brash and exciting. Several, like “When Thugz Cry,” prominently features female R&B choruses incongruous with 2Pac’s vocals. Overproduction also mars the album’s few gems, such as “Lastonesleft” and “Good Life,” as well as disses of then-rivals Jay-Z (on “Lil’ Homies”) and Prodigy of Mobb Deep (on “Why U Turn On Me”). Would 2Pac have approved of all this? It’s impossible to say. While as commercial-minded as anyone else, he seemed to possess a slightly skewed sense of integrity that fueled the confessionals, strip-club anthems, and angry threats for which he is now remembered. That perspective is in little supply here. Unlike nemesis the Notorious B.I.G., who polished a single song to perfection, 2Pac recorded dozens of tracks before compiling the best of the lot. By focusing on his work with the Outlawz, Still I Rise replicated that ethos with some success. But Until the End of Time only seeks to capitalize on 2Pac’s voice while casually overlooking his artistic spirit. The album was released in conjunction with Death Row, the result on an uneasy truce between Amaru and Suge Knight (who owned the rights). Interscope handled distribution.