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ME AGAINST THE WORLD is the third studio album by American hip hop artist 2Pac
2Pac
. It was released March 14, 1995 on the Interscope Records label. Drawing lyrical inspiration from his impending prison sentence, troubles with the police, and poverty, the record is described as 2Pac's most introspective album. Steve Huey of AllMusic noted that with Me Against the World, the rapper became markedly more "confessional", "reflective", and "soul-baring".

Me Against the World, released while Shakur was imprisoned, made an immediate impact on the charts, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
. This made Shakur the first artist to have an album debut at number one on Billboard 200
Billboard 200
while serving time in prison. The album served as one of Shakur's most positively reviewed albums, with many calling it the magnum opus of his career, and is considered one of the greatest and most influential hip hop albums of all-time. Me Against the World won best rap album at the 1996 Soul Train Music Awards .

CONTENTS

* 1 Background * 2 Recording and production * 3 Lyrical themes * 4 Singles

* 5 Critical reception

* 5.1 Retrospect * 5.2 Accolades

* 6 Influence * 7 Commercial performance * 8 Track listing * 9 Samples * 10 Personnel

* 11 Charts and Certifications

* 11.1 Certifications * 11.2 Chart positions

* 12 See also * 13 References * 14 External links

BACKGROUND

In 1993, Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur
was already a success in the hip hop industry, with two gold-certified singles that reached the top twenty on the pop charts ("I Get Around ", " Keep Ya Head Up "), and a platinum-selling sophomore album that would peak just inside the top twenty-five of the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
( Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. ). However, the 22-year-old artist had a series of incidents and charges of breaking the law. In the summer of 1993, Shakur was charged for assaulting director Allen Hughes while filming Menace II Society ; Shakur was later sentenced to fifteen days in jail. Later, in October 1993, Shakur was charged with shooting two off-duty police officers in Atlanta
Atlanta
, though due to a lack of evidence for the accusation; the charges of Attempted Homicide of Two Police Officers were quickly dismissed and he was not seen as a suspect. Later, Tupac
Tupac
blamed the accusations stemming from rumors to bitter sources who had heard about him being in the Atlanta
Atlanta
area in an attempt to character assassinate and set him up. In November, Shakur and two members of his entourage were charged with sexually assaulting a female fan, for which, 2Pac was the main person who was found guilty of sexual assault charges, including "illegal touching of the buttocks". He was sentenced to 1.5 to 4.5 years' incarceration, time which was spent both in Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York , and Rikers Island
Rikers Island
in New York City
New York City
. According to Shakur, the album was made to show the hip hop audience his respect for the art form. Lyrically, Shakur intentionally tried to make the album more personal and reflective than his previous efforts. Many people attributed this personal change to Tupac's growing maturity and seriousness as a young adult and an attempt to justify and make-up for his young turbulent childhood; and his apparent humbling on becoming a new growing star within the Music business, despite his previous life of crime.

RECORDING AND PRODUCTION

The musical production on the album was considered by several music critics to be the best on any of Shakur 's albums up to that point in his career. Steve "Flash" Juon at RapReviews gave the production on the album a perfect 10 of 10 rating, particularly praising tracks like " So Many Tears " and "Temptations ". Jon Pareles of the New York Times remarked that the production had a "fatalistic calm, in a commercial mold". He compared the album's production and synthesized hooks to that of Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre
's G-funk style, stating that "while 2Pac doesn't sing, other voices do, providing smooth melody". James Bernard at Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
was not quite as enthusiastic about the album's production, remarking that Shakur's "vocals are buried deep in the mix. That's a shame—if they were more in-your-face, the lackluster beats might be less noticeable." The album's recording sessions took place at ten different studios, while it was mastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering . Although the album was originally released on Interscope, Amaru Entertainment , the label owned by Shakur's mother Afeni Shakur , has since released the album twice.

LYRICAL THEMES

It was like a blues record. It was down-home. It was all my fears, all the things I just couldn't sleep about. Everybody thought I was living so well and doing so good that I wanted to explain it. And it took a whole album to get it all out. I get to tell my innermost, darkest secrets I tell my own personal problems. —  Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur

Some of the album's main themes concern the loss of innocence, paranoia, and occasional self-loathing. Much attention is paid to subjects such as the pain of urban survival. Not all of the music deals with such extremely bleak subject matter, however. Some tracks, such as "Old School", lean more to the nostalgic, though somewhat bittersweet side in Shakur's remembrance of his youth and the early days of hip hop music. The album is also well known for the more sensitive tracks " Dear Mama " and "Can U Get Away", which are both directed towards and reveal Shakur's devotion to the women he loves. On "Dear Mama", Shakur pays tribute to and expresses his undying affection for his own mother, continuously reminding her that though his actions might sometimes seem to state otherwise, "you are appreciated". On the track "Can U Get Away", Shakur attempts to impress a woman who has managed to gain his affections, away from the woman's abusive relationship. Four of the most eerie and revered tracks on the album are "If I Die 2Nite", "Lord Knows" "Outlaw" which directly references the shooting that Tupac
Tupac
went through before it happened, and "Fuck The World". Throughout the entirety of the album Shakur employs various poetical deliveries, ranging from alliteration ("If I Die 2Nite"), to the use of paired couplets ("Lord Knows").

SINGLES

" Dear Mama " was released as the album's first single in February 1995, along with the track "Old School" as the B-side . "Dear Mama" would be the album's most successful single, topping the Hot Rap Singles chart, and peaking at the ninth spot on the Billboard Hot 100 . The single was certified platinum in July 1995, and later placed at number 51 on the year-end charts .

The second single, " So Many Tears ", was released in June, four months after the first single. The single would reach the number six spot on the Hot Rap Singles chart, and the 44th on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Temptations ", released in August, was the third and final single from the album. The single would be the least successful of the three released, but still did fairly well on the charts, reaching number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100, 35 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks , and 13 on the Hot Rap Singles charts.

CRITICAL RECEPTION

PROFESSIONAL RATINGS

REVIEW SCORES

SOURCE RATING

AllMusic

Encyclopedia of Popular Music

Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
B−

Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times

Q

Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone

The Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Album
Album
Guide

Select 4/5

The Source 4/5

The Village Voice
The Village Voice
C+

In a contemporary review, Cheo H. Coker at Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
called the album Shakur's best and said it was "by and large a work of pain, anger and burning desperation — is the first time 2Pac
2Pac
has taken the conflicting forces tugging at his psyche head-on". Jon Pareles , writing in The New York Times
The New York Times
, called Shakur the "St. Augustine of gangster rap" due to his ambivalence towards the behavior and nature of the gangster lifestyle. In a negative review, Robert Christgau
Robert Christgau
of The Village Voice
The Village Voice
felt that Shakur is "witless" when dealing with fundamental hip hop themes of persecution and accused him of "self-pity": "The subtext of his persecution complex is his self-regard". "This may be the first hip-hop blues LP," observed Matt Hall in Select . "Not so much in the music, although the harp blasts owe more to Howlin\' Wolf than Tupac's previous two solo efforts, but more with Shakur's vocals, which are at once rebellious and resigned ... Me Against the World
Me Against the World
is a statement of intent, a note from the depths of America, and a fine, thoughtful LP."

Jaleel Abdul-Adil of the Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
stated that "2Pac's latest also mixes toughness and tenderness. Desperation follows raw anger on "Fuck the World" and "It Ain't Easy," but most tracks confess frailties beneath the rapper's tough exterior. "Dear Mama" is a tear-jerking tribute to his mother' "Lord Knows" discloses desperate considerations of suicide, and "So Many Tears" ponders a merciless world that wrecks young lives. 2Pac
2Pac
even includes a sorrowful "shout-out" to Robert Sandifer , the Chicago teenager whose brief life ended in a brutal shooting. After earlier releases that lacked focus and consistency, 2Pac
2Pac
finally presents a polished project of self-examination and social commentary. It's ironic that it arrives as his sentence begins."

RETROSPECT

In a retrospective review, AllMusic editor Steve Huey dubbed the album " most thematically consistent, least self-contradicting work", and stated, "it may not be his definitive album, but it just might be his best". Steve "Flash" Juon of RapReview seemed to feel differently, remarking that the album "is not only the quintessential Shakur album, but one of the most important rap albums released in the 1990s as a whole". Rap/Hip-Hop Expert Henry Adaso from rap.about.com named it the 2nd best rap album from 1995 and then stating "Me Against The World was 2Pac
2Pac
at his very best: no excessive thug braggarts, no name-inscribed lyrical missiles aimed at New York rivals. In fact, he stops to pay homage to rap pioneers on "Old School," irrespective of region."

On MTV
MTV
's Greatest Rappers of All Time list, Me Against the World
Me Against the World
was listed as one of 2Pac's "certified classic" albums, along with 2Pacalypse Now , All Eyez On Me
All Eyez On Me
and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory . "One of the best five rap albums ever," remarked Mojo , after Shakur's death.

ACCOLADES

In 1996, at the 38th Grammy Awards , Me Against the World
Me Against the World
was nominated for Best Rap Album
Album
and the single "Dear Mama" was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance . In 2008, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers , in conjunction with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame , recognized Me Against the World
Me Against the World
as one of the "most influential and popular albums", ranking it number 170 on a list of 200 other albums by artists of various musical genres.

• The information regarding accolades is adapted from Acclaimed Music , except for lists that are sourced otherwise. • (*) signifies unordered lists

PUBLICATION COUNTRY ACCOLADE YEAR RANK

New Nation UK Top 100 Albums by Black Artists

49

Gary Mulholland 261 Greatest Albums Since Punk and Disco 2006 *

Blender United States 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die 2003 *

Ego Trip Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980–98 1999 7

Nude as the News The 100 Most Compelling Albums of the 90s 47

Pause & Play Albums Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Album
Album
per Week

*

Robert Dimery 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2005 *

The Source The 100 Best Rap Albums of All Time 1998 *

About.com
About.com
100 Greatest Hip Hop Albums

10

10 Essential Hip-Hop Albums 2008 8

Best Rap Albums of 1995 2008 2

Complex (magazine) The 90 Best Rap Albums of the '90s 2014 23

RollingOut The 20 Greatest West Coast Hip-hop Albums Of All Time 2013 2

INFLUENCE

American hip hop artist J. Cole
J. Cole
has cited Me Against the World
Me Against the World
as one of his favorite albums of all time, Cole spoke about the album saying:

Everyone knows I’m a super-duper Pac fan, but when Me Against The World dropped I was 10 years old. So even being 10 years old, I still knew the importance of this album. I knew how ill the shit he was saying was, and how emotional he sounded. I was ten years old, but I could connect to the dude. It’s like now, when I’m traveling on the road, a parent will bring their 11-year-old kid to me and say, ‘You’re his favorite rapper. He loves you.’ I’ll think, ‘Yo, he’s 11!, I have to remember that when I was young, I got it too. I understood it. So it reminds me of that. It’s a classic. "Dear Mama " is a fucking classic. The song ‘Me Against The World’ is a classic. "Temptations " and " So Many Tears " are my favorite songs on there. —  J. Cole
J. Cole

American hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar
has also cited the album as one of his favorites, he described the album as "really dark", he said: "Death Around The Corner, "So Many Tears", you can tell what type of space he was in.”

COMMERCIAL PERFORMANCE

The album debuted at the number one spot on the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
chart and stayed there for 4 weeks straight, it sold 240,000 copies in the first week, and became certified double platinum by the end of the year. Likewise, it also debuted at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, thus giving 2Pac
2Pac
the first number one album on both R&B and Pop charts. While Shakur was in prison, the album over-took Bruce Springsteen 's Greatest Hits as the best-selling album in the United States, a feat which he took pride in. Shakur became the first artist to have a number one album while serving a prison sentence. It achieved multi platinum status and has sold 3,524,567 copies in the United States
United States
as of 2011.

Tupac
Tupac
Shakur's virtual appearance at the annual Coachella Festival (April 15, 2012) led to the album selling 1,000 copies the following week (up by 53% from the previous week).

TRACK LISTING

NO. TITLE WRITER(S) PRODUCER(S) LENGTH

1. "Intro"

* Tony Pizarro * Jill Rose

1:40

2. "If I Die 2Nite" Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur
, Betty Wright , W. Clarke, N. Durham, Osten Harvey, Jr. Easy Mo Bee 4:01

3. "Me Against the World" (featuring Dramacydal ) Shakur, Minnie Riperton , Richard Rudolph , Leon Ware , Burt Bacharach , Hal David
Hal David
Soulshock and Karlin 4:40

4. " So Many Tears " Shakur, Gregory Jacobs , Randy Walker , Eric Baker, Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
D-Flizno Production Squad ( Shock G
Shock G
) 3:59

5. "Temptations " Shakur, Roger Troutman , Larry Troutman , Shirley Murdock , George Clinton, Jr. , Garry Shider , David Spradley, Harvey, Jr. Easy Mo Bee 5:00

6. "Young Niggaz" Shakur, N. Leftenat, Charlie Singleton , Tomi Jenkins , Larry Blackmon , Le-Morrious "Funky Drummer" Tyler Moe Z.M.D. 4:53

7. "Heavy in the Game" (featuring Richie Rich ) Shakur, Mosley, Bostic

* Mike Mosley * Sam Bostic

4:23

8. "Lord Knows" Shakur

* Brian G * Moe Z.M.D. * Tony Pizarro

4:31

9. " Dear Mama " Shakur, Joseph Sample , Pizarro

* Tony Pizarro * DF Master Tee float:right;padding-left:10px;background-color:#eee;margin-right:2px">TOTAL LENGTH: 66:07

Notes

* ^ signifies a co-producer . * ^ signifies an additional producer.

SAMPLES

If I Die 2Nite

* "Tonight Is The Night" performed by Betty Wright * "Tonight" performed by Kleeer * "Deep Cover" performed by Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre
and Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg

Me Against The World

* "Walk on By" performed by Isaac Hayes * "Inside My Love" performed by Minnie Riperton

So Many Tears

* "That Girl" performed by Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
* "The Dude" performed by Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones

Temptations

* "Sing a Simple Song" performed by Sly text-align:left; vertical-align:top;"> Dear Mama

* "In All My Wildest Dreams" performed by Joe Sample * "Sadie" performed by The Spinners

Can U Get Away

* "Happy Feelin's" performed by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
Frankie Beverly

Old School

* "We Share" performed by The Soul Searchers * "Dedication" performed by Brand Nubian * "Brooklyn's in the House" performed by Cutmaster D.C. * "Adventures of Super Rhyme (Rap)" performed by Jimmy Spicer * "My Adidas" performed by Run-DMC * "Rock The Bells" performed by LL Cool J * "Eric B. Is President" performed by Eric B. & Rakim

Death Around the Corner

* "Winter Sadness" performed by Kool -webkit-column-count: 2; column-count: 2;">

* 2Pac
2Pac
- composer, primary artist, vocals * Eric Altenburger - art direction, design * Kim Armstrong - vocals (background) * Paul Arnold - engineer, Mixing * Burt Bacharach
Burt Bacharach
- composer * Eric Baker - composer * Larry Blackmon - composer * Sam Bostic - composer, producer * George Clinton - composer * Hal David
Hal David
- composer * Kevin "KD" Davis - engineer, mixing * Digital Underground - guest artist * Dramacydal - guest artist, performer, primary artist * Easy Mo Bee - composer * Eboni Foster - vocals (background) * Reggie Green - vocals (background) * Jeff Griffin - mixing * Greg Jacobs - composer * Gregory Jacobs - composer * Johnny J - composer * Puff Johnson - guest artist, vocals (background) * Lady Levi - guest artist * Jay Lean - engineer, mixing * Eric Lynch - engineer * Moe Z - composer * Bob Morris - engineer * Mike Mosley - composer * Shirley Murdock - composer * Tim Nitz - engineer * Tony "D" Pizarro - composer, engineer, mixing, producer * Richie Rich - guest artist * Minnie Riperton - composer, vocals (background) * Roger - composer * Jill Rose - vocals * Richard Rudolph - composer * Joe Sample - composer * Garry Shider - composer * Charlie Singleton - composer * David Spradley - composer * Thug Life - guest artist * Larry Troutman - composer * Le-Morrious "Funky Drummer" Tyler - composer * Ronnie Vann - guitar * Natasha Walker - guest artist, vocals (background) * Leon Ware - composer * Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
- composer

CHARTS AND CERTIFICATIONS

CERTIFICATIONS

REGION CERTIFICATION CERTIFIED UNITS /SALES

UNITED STATES (RIAA ) 2x Platinum 3,524,567

*sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone

CHART POSITIONS

Album
Album

CHART (1995) Peak position

German Albums Chart 23

Swedish Albums Chart 20

US Billboard 200
Billboard 200
1

US Top R text-align:left; vertical-align:top;"> Singles

YEAR SINGLE PEAK POSITIONS

U.S. BILLBOARD HOT 100 U.S. HOT DANCE MUSIC/MAXI-SINGLES SALES U.S. HOT R&B/HIP-HOP SINGLES border:solid #aaa 1px">

* Hip hop
Hip hop
portal

* List of number-one albums of 1995 (U.S.) * List of number-one R -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

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2Pac
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2Pac
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