2Pac
Makaveli


4.0
excellent

Review

by BigHans USER (108 Reviews)
May 3rd, 2010 | 38 replies | 25,503 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Exit 2Pac, Enter Makaveli.

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

Owing to human nature’s incapability to resist anything shrouded in mystery, the 1996 death of Tupac Shakur set off a colossal wave of paranoia. Denial was masked with intrigue, morbid curiosity supplanted logical thought, and no one wanted to admit Tupac was as dead as Kennedy. When ‘Pac got shot (for the second time), fans (like the 16 year old me), patiently waited for his return while tearing his discography apart for clues, grasping for unattainable straws of hope, worshipping at the desperate altar of denial. We scoured the morbidly prophetic songs “Death Around The Corner,” “If I Die Tonight,” “Bury Me a G,” “Life Goes On,” and “How Long Will They Mourn Me” from past releases, bargaining that Tupac’s obsession with death was really all part of his evil plot to either avoid the law, or lull “enemies” like Mobb Deep, Nas, and Biggie Smalls into a false sense of security before an unpredictable and triumphant return to extract revenge. In the 13 year fallout and with the benefit of hindsight, it is safe to assume that Pac is no more, regardless if Suge Knight, a couple of Crips from Los Angeles, or Bugs Bunny was the evil genius behind his ghastly demise, but we didn’t want to believe it at the time.

Admittedly the fact two months before his murder Tupac decided to record an album under the pseudonym Makaveli, an ode to a scheming political writer who advocated faking one’s death to beguile enemies is a notable coincidence and didn’t exactly quell the hysteria. The fact this recording incorporated numerous ideologies to the number seven, and seven days as a concept, an idea that is rooted in the notion of resurrection, is also a substantial coincidental quagmire. When Death Row decided to wait all of two months to release “The Don Killuminati,” a shameless act of contrived exploitation, great attention was paid to the depiction of Tupac plastered on the cross, and the inclusion of the eerie “exit Tupac, enter Makaveli” statement in the liner notes was viewed by some as Nostradamus-esque ponderings. The record was an event, and the four million units moved inside of a year proved our insurmountable thirst for conspiracy. What we failed to recognize at the time however, is “The Don Killuminati” was not a prophetic road map awash in clues of Tupac’s demise; that distinction belongs to his masterpiece “Me Against the World.” When all hyperbole is removed and coincidences ignored, Tupac’s episode as Makaveli can be taken for what it truly is, a straight forward, above average hip hop album whose packaging and timeliness led us to believe it was something it ultimately was not.

Looking back, it seems that Tupac’s obsession with resurrection and metamorphosis had a lot more to do with altering his artistic direction than an elaborate hoax to fake his own demise. From an atmospheric standpoint, “The Don Killuminati” is a far cry from the bombastic, West Coast Rap defining party romp that was his previous release, “All Eyez On Me.” With the exception of stereotypical sex romp “Toss it Up” and the overtly nostalgic “To Live and Die in L.A.,” the album is awash in morose melodies, foregoing the sunny beats of the “California Love’s” “All About You’s” and “How Do You Want It’s” of yore. Daz, Dre, Snoop, and Nate Dogg weren’t walking through the door this time around, and the result is a dark, stripped down, at times introspective, at times attacking album that perfectly showcases Tupac’s bipolar duality.

Tupac had several distinct lyrical personas, but the most consistent and prevalent are the chest puffing, live-by-the-sword thug, the introspective, nostalgic gentleman who wrote songs about the old school, the plight of young women, his mama, and the soothsaying, death obsessed paranoid. It’s difficult to decide which side truly encapsulated his personality, the most logical idea is that he was torn between all, yet his greatest successes were achieved when he jettisoned volatility in exchange for either sentimentality or vulnerably questioning his own demise. Most of Tupac’s worst efforts showcased his desire to be all things gangsta, and this album is no different, with the exception of the rollicking outlaw anthem “Me and My Girlfriend,” a version that destroys Jay-Z’s sampling, (a curious event in itself as Jay-Z is referred to as a “corny sounding mother***er” on this record). Just like “Me Against the World” and “All Eyez On Me,” the weakest links here are the volatile ones, like opener “Bomb First” and closer “Against All Odds,” both of which are nothing more than “shoot before you get shot” assaults upon his aforementioned enemies. When he channels his foreboding side, like on the beautifully ominous “Hail Mary,” the results are substantially more gratifying. As typical, the album’s greatest moments are when Tupac summons his greatest redemptive aspect; sentimental, honest commentary. The gorgeous, soul searching ballad “Krazy” is probably the record's ultimate standout, channeling the introspection mastered on past classics “Dear Mama” and “Changes.” The whimsical, self lamenting, female uplifting “White Man’z World” showcases ‘Pac admonishing his own arrogance, recalling the redemption seeking overtones of “Keep Ya Head Up” and “It Ain’t Easy.”

As was proven on this record as in the past, Tupac excelled more when he supplanted the lambasting of his enemies in exchange for self lamentation. Despite the eerie moods of the album, “The Don Killuminati” is more about redemption and soul searching than anything else, especially a metaphorical roadmap or allusion to the conspiracy of death. Tupac was part thug, part martyr, part poet, and clearly his tortured nature is what drew people to him. It can be difficult to glorify someone who unabashedly at times had little concern for morality, but more so than any other hip hop artist, Tupac let us in to all sides of him. He was a complicated man, but he provided every angle and opportunity to analyze both his madness and genius. He instilled a fervent passion for trying to figure out who the hell he was, and the madness surrounding his death proved this. Thirteen years later, “The Don Killuminati” is unequivocally not a conspiracy roadmap; it is simply the penultimate aspect of his legacy, and ultimately one of his finer recordings.

Standouts:

Krazy
Hail Mary
Me & My Girlfriend
To Live & Die In L.A.
Toss It Up
White Man’z World



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user ratings (249)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
thecreative0ne (5)
A classic album, with an excellent theme....


Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
May 3rd 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Repost, I did this one a few months ago but the review and Makaveli himself got deleted from the database somehow.

MUNGOLOID
May 3rd 2010



4277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hmm, that's weird. idk if you're aware but this album can be found on the main page for 2pac.

BigHans
May 3rd 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didnt notice that but I figured it would be best for it to be under Makaveli instead of 2Pac.

Inveigh
May 3rd 2010



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome review man, I only have a few songs from this. I need to listen to more 2pac. have a pos brutha

BigHans
May 3rd 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. I was a huge 2Pac fanboy in the mid 90's, I was devastated when he got killed.

Inveigh
May 3rd 2010



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was familiar with his stuff growing up, but considering I was 11 when he got shot I wasn't too familiar with his music when it happened. The only rap/hip hop I knew at that time was stuff like Coolio, Snoop Dogg, Outkast (being from Atlanta) and Bone Thugz. I mean, I knew who he was, but I probably didn't know many/any songs.

BigHans
May 3rd 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I aint a killer but don't push me, revenge is like the sweetest joy next to gettin pussy - Makaveli

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2010



30873 Comments


didnt notice that but I figured it would be best for it to be under Makaveli instead of 2Pac.

It was moved to 2Pac's page because there was really no need to have a separate artist page when we all know its 2Pac, and it was only one album. Most discogs sites list this under 2Pac as well I believe

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

hipnotoad
May 3rd 2010



207 Comments


You keep talking about 2pac in the past tense, like he's dead.

Inveigh
May 3rd 2010



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

but, but they moved Viktor Vaughn albums to a separate page from MF Doom, and there's only 2 of those...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2010



30873 Comments


I can't see everything!!

Inveigh
May 3rd 2010



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I thought you were Sputnik's resident omnipotent presence, Deviant?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2010



30873 Comments


Well this just changed didn't it?

Bulldog
May 3rd 2010



3796 Comments


A little lengthy for my taste, but great fucking review man. Pos'd.

Inveigh
May 3rd 2010



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you gots some magic powers Dev, that's for sure

Dryden
May 3rd 2010



12928 Comments


lol

somberlain
May 3rd 2010



2121 Comments


great review...still
pos'd...again

qwe3
May 4th 2010



21353 Comments


cant stand 2pac

kenlacam
May 4th 2010



24 Comments


Excellent review from a big Tupac fan! To awe3 and chambered89, if you don't like Tupac, you don't have to waste your time and ours by typing how much you can't stand him. Just move on instead of being dicks about it.

BigHans
May 4th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

RIP Tupac.



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