December 14, 2006

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2Pac, Pac's Life
Interscope Records, 2006

Beyond cynically dissecting the "charity-minded" motivations of Afeni Shakur in continuing to crank out posthumous "releases" from her son (this is the 6th) starring whatever carefully groomed R&B bigger-than-lifers the labels are shoving down the public gullet, you have to feel for young wannabes watching their preferred genre being Sony-fied into oblivion. At times (T.I.'s and Ashanti's Vegas-like dumbing-down of the title track for one) it's a twilight zone of antiseptically Hollywood brown-nosing light years outside the reach of downtrodden ghetto princes who'd give anything for just one shot, a place that's now so completely ignored by backpackers that its keepers can rewrite history with impunity (Snoop pops in to infer that he put Shakur on the map, while other hangers-on like Young Buck, Chamillionaire, Ashanti, ad nauseum never recorded with Shakur and likely wouldn't be invited now, were he alive). Yaki Kadafi mumbles about gats and such in the sole OG effort "Soon As I Get Home," but other than that (and Bone Thugs' not-bad take on "Untouchable") it's a parade of rhinestone-cuffed Brooks Brothers slickness signifying not much. Will this garbage ever, like ever, die? C

Eric W. Saeger