* Prices may differ from that shown
Still I Rise was released in 1999 by Interscope Records under the Death Row label and is an album by the American hip-hop group The Outlawz. It is another posthumous album released following the death of 2Pac in 1996.
The album consists of 15 songs with production from QD III, Jonny J and Daryl "Big D" Harper as well as others, and includes stars such as Nate Dogg and Big Syke.
The tracks are as follows:
1. Letter to the President (featured in the film Training Day)
2. Still I Rise
3. Secretz of War
4. Baby Don't Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II)
5. As the World Turns
6. Black Jesuz
8. Hell 4 A Hustler
9. High Speed
10. The Good Die Young
12. Teardrops and Closed Caskets
13. Tattoo Tears
14. U Can Be Touched
15. Y'all Don't Know Us
My personal favourite songs are Letter to the President, The Good Die Young and Teardrops and Closed Caskets. Letter to the President is about the problems in the ghetto and how the President has broken his promises. The Good Die Young is about friends/family who have been murdered or who have died and Teardrops and Closed Caskets is about the love between a man and woman which breaks down and ends in fatal consequences.
I really like this album as I'm a big fan of 2Pac and I feel that most of the songs on here are easy to listen to and each song is individual as all have different sounds but there is still the recurring themes of death and the daily struggle of life.
I would recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of 2Pac or a fan of Old Skool hip hop before it became too commercialised and auto tuned (e.g. Lil Wayne) and the real essence of hip hop and rap music was lost.
You can buy this album from ebay and Amazon for a couple of quid and probably a large music store such as HMV.
"Still I Rise" was released in 1999 as an album from 2Pac and his group the Outlawz. Coming three years after the Hip Hop icon's death, the posthumous release was one of many containing unreleased material from him and here we find that the members of his New Jersey group to support what he does and prop him up where at times he will only have recorded verses and not full tracks. Here we get production coming from the likes of QDIII, Johnny J and Daz Dillinger.
1. "Letter To The President"
The album is set off well as we're given some production from QDIII and 'Pac gives the leading verse to welcome us into the thing. The tune goes hard and really livens you up for the way that things would develop on this album. I'm sure that any fan of 2Pac's will feel this one and feel as though they've got nothing but good to come afterwards as we get such a strong one hit down here.
2. "Still I Rise"
The titular track to the album, here we have a track that has as many of the many Outlawz members attempting to jump onto this one as possible. We see that here Johnny J is able to effectively come out with production that seems to fit in with what we would expect to get from the artist had he lived to see this time and so we get contemporary production that invites you into the thing and you have to get excited about.
3. "Secretz of War"
E.D.I. Mean goes off with the first verse on this one and so it seems that here the executive producers behind the album are attempting to steadily move us away from expecting 'Pac at the start of each tune and being the most prominent artist (when there are so many other artists contributing to the album). Of course all you really want to hear is what Shakur has to say and he goes as hard as ever and the rest (although nowhere near as strong as him) seem to support him well enough.
4. "Baby Don't Cry"
A track that's bound to jump out at you if you're more of a fan of 2Pac's, this one was one of the album's singles and a quasi-sequel to "Keep Ya Head Up" (one of his biggest tracks from the early years of his career). I thought that it was one of the biggest ones on the album not only because it uses quite a bit of one of the heaviest tracks he ever recorded, but because it just sounds much more impressive than the rest of the tunes which led up to it.
5. "As The World Turns"
Big D's on the beat here and we see that here he pushes against the expectations of West Coast Rap beats of the time (which was happening a lot at the time as they had to come off the outdated G-Funk by this point). It makes for a very fresh one and a little something that builds for another tune that grabs your attention as here we see that the main artist and the Outlawz come with more intense rhymes.
6. "Black Jesuz"
A tune that obviously has the artists attracting more controversy, we see that here the load of them do a great job at creating a buzz by coming out with some pretty thought-provoking material. There's a lot going on with this one and I felt that as a result of its packed feel, you really have to pay much more attention and listen closer to it as you hear how they wish to make a big impact and get their voices heard.
This one really stood out to me as one of the biggest. On it we see that Tha Dogg Pound's Daz Dillinger gets on the beats and of course he decides that we need some of that slapping West Coast stuff to support the rappers. On this one we get the most complete 2Pac piece, and we see that Young Noble only managed to get a brief appearance on it and the rest is covered by 'Pac who seems to go harder on some of the biggest beats of the whole record.
8. "Hell 4 a Hustler"
Damon Thomas provides the beats here and he comes out with a composition that sounds bang-on the type of thing that you'd expect out of a Hip Hop or R&B track in the late nineties. On it, 2Pac sounds like he's on a next level as he goes out with rough rhymes which really force you to pay attention of just how raw things are here and how his ways of getting on the come-up have been extremely tough.
9. "High Speed"
For this one we see that we have them recording a track that has them focusing-in on how their lives are being led at a pace that few are able to keep up to. Interpolating the Tom Tom Club's "Genius Of Love" (which you're unlikely to notice unless you really pay attention) this one is another tune where the only really defining features come from 'Pac's role in it and the other rappers are just unable to stay up to the same standards.
10. "The Good Die Young"
Another track that I thought really stood out, it seems as though it's for different reasons to others on the album as there's dramatic irony in that we all know of 'Pac's death as he rhymes about what's given in the title. It's a strong tune here and one that sees the rest of the artists acting as if they are unaware of his death as they just go off with the same intensions of what the main artists did when rhyming about the deaths of family and other close people.
Tony Pizarro surprises us all massively as he pulls the Funk out for the beats on this one and shows that even though we seem to have forgotten these after 2Pac's death, he's still got a few club tunes in his unreleased stock. This is a straight banger of a tune and it's great to see how the beatmaker managed to dig out something that he knew would make us briefly forget about the tragedy of what happened to the main rapper here.
12. "Teardrops and Closed Caskets"
For this one we have the attention diverted a bit as we find that we don't get a track like the rest and for a change we are able to acknowledge 'Pac's death. Limiting him simply to the track's introduction and adlibs, we see that here the rest of the Outlawz take over with a little help from the R&B singer Nate Dogg and they give a nice alternative tune to add to the mix that we get on this album.
13. "Tattoo Tears"
After an interesting one, we see that here we get right back on track and have a tune that has 2Pac coming out on beats by Tha Dogg Pound's other half (Kurupt - who shows that he's just as capable at coming out with the goods as Daz Dillinger). This one makes for a pretty significant one as we see how they come out with more of the raw stuff that forces you to pay attention through its shock factor.
14. "U Can Be Touched"
This is a nice smooth one here and I felt that it really had a place here on the album to add to what we've had elsewhere on it. Although it may not have any defining features to set it apart from the rest that we've had here, I thought that it was one that livens you up as here we get some heavy beats coming out of Johnny J to give the rappers all they need to get the job done as you'd expect.
15. "Y'All Don't Know Us"
The album ends here with a track that sounds like an effort for the rest of the Outlawz members (other than 2Pac) to show what they are capable of. With pretty much nothing to do with 2Pac included here, it's them showing what they are about with beats which stand out as something much more modern than what else we've had here, but the standards of it are clearly brought donw with nothing to pull in those who just came for 'Pac.
I thought that this was a pretty strong album from 2Pac and the Outlawz. I have to say that the only thing that I was interested in was hearing more out of the primary artist and the rest really don't seem to do all that much. Their rhymes say nothing in particular and are outshined with 'Pac presence and so spoil most of the tracks. As a result, it's only really Shakur's stuff that gives you a chance to enjoy it and so generally the album is nothing more than average on the whole.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Letter To The President - 2Pac, The Outlawz, Big Skye
2 Still I Rise - Ta'He, 2Pac, The Outlawz
3 Secretz Of War
4 Baby Don't Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II)
5 As The World Turns
6 Black Jesuz
8 Hell 4 A Hustler
9 High Speed
10 The Good Die Young
12 Teardrops And Closed Caskets
13 Tattoo Tears
14 U Can Be Touched
15 Y'all Don't Know Us