Me Against The World: Celebrating 22 Years Since Tupac’s Magnum Opus

Twenty two years ago, 2pac released ‘Me Against The World.’ It became the first album to go number one whilst the artist was in prison. Its an album that many consider the late-great’s magnum opus, and has inspired an entire generation of rappers. 

Whilst the intro reels of snippets of news reports about Pac’s struggles with police and hospital visits, the first song on the album exemplifies the West Coast legends’ purposeful employment of plosives cutting deep into his subject matter. Tupac is often underestimated as an MC, I’m guilty of it too, because of his lack of complex rhyme schemes. What ‘Me Against The World’ often lacks in terms of multi-syllabics it makes up for in other literary techniques from narrative-heavy story telling, to metaphors and the aforementioned use of plosive alliteration. 

Throughout the album, Pac is at his strongest when he’s rapping about the shortcomings of the powers that be, and instead places the power of the people. From ‘I I Die’ to ‘Outlaw’ this album is soul bearing, heart-on-sleeve honesty that has opened a number of doors for some of my idols in 2017. Could Joe Budden have created Mood Muzik without ‘Me Against The World’? Could Loyle Carner have created ‘The Isle of Arran’ without ‘Me Against The World’? Could Drake have created his own brand and popularised emo-rap to the extent he has if Tupac had never created ‘Me Against The World’? 

I firmly stand by what I have said for pretty much my entire life. Tupac wasn’t a great rapper. In the technical ability to rap, there are far superior names. That being said, as a writer, re-listening to ‘Me Against The World’ on its 22nd Anniversary has allowed me to see the beauty beyond rhyme schemes but within the literary devices employed by Pac. As a political activist, not many could hope of outshining Tupac and ‘Me Against The World’ finds one of Hip Hop’s purest voices at its most potent. 

‘Me Against The World’ could very well be the most influential rap album of all time and looking at the current soundscape of rap music, that is very much evident. Politically motivated music is seeping throughout Hip Hop right now and whilst it might be largely because of the fuck shit that is going on in the world – one has to wonder if any of it would have even existed if Tupac hadn’t dared to be so outspoken on ‘Me Against The World.’

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