Today we remember the anniversary of 2Pac’s death. During his short life the rapper was a prolific writer and even after his death fans have benefited from an almost unbelievable stream of “new” releases. Touching intently on systematic injustice in America and around the world, Pac became adored not just for his lack of filter, but also his outright brashness.
To celebrate his birthday, check out this gallery of Pac’s 44 greatest songs and verses for a reminder of the man the world lost too soon in 1996.
1. 2Pac – “Changes”
“We gotta start making changes / Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers / And that’s how it’s supposed to be / How can the Devil take a brother if he’s close to me?” -2Pac
2. 2Pac – “Dear Mama”
“You always was committed / A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how ya did it / There’s no way I can pay you back.” -2Pac
3. 2Pac – “Brenda’s Got A Baby”
One of 2Pac’s most revered songs and his first ever solo single, released in 1991.
4. 2Pac – “California Love” [Original Version]
“Dressed in Locs and Khaki suits, and ride is what we do / Flossing, but have caution: we collide with other crews.” -2Pac
5. 2Pac – “Life Goes On”
“Bury me smilin’, with G’s in my pocket / Have a party at my funeral, let every rapper rock it.” -2Pac
6. 2pac – “Unconditional Love”
Originally written for MC Hammer, this is a demo version recorded by 2Pac.
7. 2Pac – “Resist The Temptation”
“No one was there when I took the wrong path / And nobody’d care if I died in a blood bath / But is this my destiny? / Tell the lord they got my mind, but he can have the rest of me.” -2Pac
8. 2Pac – “Hail Mary”
“Institutionalized I lived my life a product made to crumble / But too hardened for a smile, we’re too crazy to be humble.” -2Pac
9. 2pac – “Hell For A Hustla”
“I’m makin’ money moves mandatory, end of discussion / My past records tell a story, picture niggas with rushin’.” -2Pac
10. 2Pac feat. Nas & J. Phoenix – “Thugz Mansion”
“I once contemplated suicide, and woulda tried / But when I held that 9, all I could see was my momma’s eyes / No one knows my struggle, they only see the trouble.” -2Pac
11. 2Pac – “Hit ‘Em Up”
One of the most controversial tracks in 2Pac’s career, a full-out diss aimed at The Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, and all of Bad Boy Records.
12. 2Pac – “If I Die 2Nite”
“The sickest psychotic society somebody save me / Addicted to drama so even mama couldn’t raise me.” -2Pac
13. 2Pac – “Keep Ya Head Up”
“Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice / I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots.” -2Pac
14. 2Pac – “I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto”
“Here on Earth, tell me what’s a black life worth / A bottle of juice is no excuse, the truth hurts.” -2Pac
15. 2Pac Ft. Notorious B.I.G. – “Runnin’ (Dying to Live)”
“Misery is all I see, that’s my mind state / My history with the police will shake the crime rate.” -2Pac
16. 2Pac – “I Get Around”
One of ‘Pac’s most famously raunchy tracks.
17. 2Pac & Scarface – “Smile”
“Why shed tears, save your sympathy / My childhood years was spent burying my peers in the cemetery.” -2Pac
18. MC Breed feat. 2Pac – “Gotta Get Mine”
“God gave me game so I’m hustlin / Pour out some liqour for my niggas, 2Pac is still strugglin!” -2Pac
19. 2Pac feat. Lady of Rage – “Me and My Girlfriend”
The original source of Jay Z’s hook from “Bonnie & Clyde.”
20. 2Pac – “Against All Odds”
No holds-barred and plenty of explicit callouts to rappers and their crews.
21. 2Pac – “Old School”
Pac pays homage to the Hip Hop legends that came before him.
22. 2Pac – “Holler If You Hear Me”
“Much love to my brothers in the pen / See ya when they free ya if not when they shove me in.” -2Pac
23. 2pac feat. B-Legit, C-Bo & D-Shot – “Ain’t Hard 2 Find”
A Cali roundtable with features from B-Legit, C-Bo, and D-Shot.
24. 2Pac- “16 On Deathrow”
“I’m kind of schizophrenic; I’m in this shit to win it / Cause life’s a Wheel of Fortune, here’s my chance to spin it.” -2Pac
25. 2Pac – “Krazy”
“And I swear I seen a peaceful smile on my mama’s face when I gave her the keys to her own house, this your land / Your only son done became a man.” -2Pac