"Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z." is the second album from 2Pac. It was released back in 1993, a couple of years following his big debut "2Pacalypse Now", and saw a calmer side to the politically-charged nature of his first release. Something which it also has in comparison to his first album is strength as here, following the success of "2Pacalypse Now", he had manged to win over top rappers out on the West Coast, and so you hear collaborations with more well-known people, including Ice Cube and Ice-T, two legends out on this side of the States.
1. "Holla If Ya Hear Me"
Thi swas the first single from the album, and so the earliest opportuanity for fans to get to hear how 'Pac had developed since "2Pacalyse Now". To be honest, I wasn't that impressed by it all, but it's a decent West Coast tune and suits trends of that particular time.
Listening to this it was bugging me to hea a sample which was so obviousy, yet so diffiuclt to name. It wasn't until later when I discovered that it was George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" which was being played through it that I relaised I wasn't going to get it as it was used in Snoop'd "Who Am I", but in a lower tempo.
2. "'Pac's Theme" (Lude)
3. "Point the Finga"
This track brings the themes from his first album onto this one. Here he makes the point that figures, such as himself, are often made out to be the reason for decline for certain people, in particular young, black males. You can sense bitterness in 'Pac rhymes as he attempts to shun responsibily for such things.
4. "Something 2 Die 4" (Lude)
5. "Last Wordz"
Here is a track which must have been extrmely excitng to work on for 'Pac at the time, the reason for this is that he has not one, but two O.G.s on the West Coast Rap scene collaborating with him on this one. Ice-T, and former-N.W.A member, Ice Cube.
Although they may be well-known as pionners out on this side of the States, it doesn't mean that they are any good at what they do. Of course you can't coomplain about Cube as his raps are lways strong, however I've never liked Ice-T, and to be honest he didn't perform well at all here. I felt that overall it was pretty strong though.
6. "Souljah's Revenge"
Here is the follow-up to "Souljah's Story", off his debut album, and I thought as though it was a strong way to back-up the material from the frightening work off "2Pacalypse Now". I felt that the way in whihc "Pa converses with his eveil counterpart to be amazing in displaying what he is capable of coming up with for concept tracks.
7. "Peep Game"
This is a head banger from 'Pac and it has the rapper performing his well-known Gangsta Rap side. As there aren't that many of these hardcore tracks from him this early on ino his career, I had to enjoy it whiel it lasted, however I didn't just like it for the sake of doing so, I found it to be one of the bes tracks off the whole album. Bobcat worked well in his production to integrate multiple samples in order to do a smaller-scale G-Funk tune, and it added to the hype of the thing.
This track features some raps from the East Coast rap group, Live Squad, I found that as they produced this one too, it seemed as though they made it there's but still manged to make their style fit in with 'Pac's West Coast basis. So despite seeing that it was mainly Live Squad's tune, they did make a strong effort to rap in a hardcore way which the West could appreciate.
9. "Guess Who's Back"
What stood out in this one was the way in which it is driven by a booming bassline, I found it to be extrmely heavy and it seems to fit in well with the style in which 'Pac rhymed here. Special Ed's production certainly made the track work as the rapper himself was quite average in the raps though.
10. "Representin' 93"
When listening to the whoel album through, I felt as though this one was the only prpoper Gangsta Rap tune on it (opposied to the Consious Hip Hop tracks), where the production suited the genreal trends of the time with the more popular artists such as Snoop, Dre, and Too $hort. Although it may have taken a while to get there, it was appreciated as he clams down for a laid-back West Coast tune.
11. Keep Ya Head Up"
As I've grown up listening to this tune throughout my life, I was surprised to find that it traced back to these early years of 'Pac as it didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the material on this album as it is a lot calmer than what you expect from him. I beleive that it's due to the fact that DJ Daryl takes over for th production, and his sound is far from what he was known for.
This is a conscious rack from the artist, and one which you wouldn't really expect from a West Coast, when you are aware of the extremeness of what they apped about. Here 2Pac advises men to appreciate their women and respect them. I found it to be an amazing piece from him, and the beat is so strong in easing the theme through.
12. "Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..."
This is the title track from the album, and I expect that it wasn't used because of its content, more to do with the message which the title sends alone in directing it's messages quite selectively. However, this track is strong by itself as he raps towards the people who are "Never Ignorant, Getting Goals Accomplished".
13. "The Streetz R Death Row"
Here you get 2Pac once agin opting for some consicous lyrics, whcihj aid people as he sends them down the path which he sees as a way out. He sheds light on the situation on 'the streets' and how bad they really are in relatity. I found tha the snippets of Ice Cube help in making this track work as such a well-known figure rapping a short segment about ho he is willing to do whatever is neccessary for him to stay alive, suhc as kill, emphasises 'Pac's main points.
14. "I Get Around"
This is one of "pac's Summer anthems, but I expect it to be lesser known over here, which is a shame as it is such an exciting tune from the rapper and has him perfroming in a light-hearted manner. I think that this makes it stand out from alot of the material here as it has him chill for a while and go back to his roots by performing alongside his old group, Digital Underground.
15. "Papa'z Song"
As if it wasn't obvious enough, this one is a track dedicated to his father. 'Pac summerises his childhood to his father, who was absent throughout it. I thought that it was an amazingly strong tune as he explains how he has got by without a father-figure in his life, and how he wishes to be everything he isn't. I felt that although I was unable to relate to it, I could truley feel the words which he said as you can feel the bitterness in his otne as his raps it
16. "5 Deadly Venomz"
This is a big finsh to the album as you hear 'Pac recruit the likes of Live Squad, Apache and Naughty By nature's Treach all cominf together for a celebatory finale to 2Pac's second album. I thought that to end it on such a high note was a positve, and as it wasn't a single, I felt that it made it stand out as an excitn tune which you won't have previously heard from him.
For a follow-up to his first relase, this is a strong one for 'pac. I think that it leads on well from the other well and they should be caegoriezed together as it was really here where he began to alter slightly before going on to get some top-quality production behind him.
As with "2Pacalypse Now", you have some consious lyrics which have political messages injected into them, however its not as strong and extreme as before where he openly admitted he was willing to kill to send out messages. I think that this is for the best as it meant that it was more likely to be noticed after having him come on so strong the first time around.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Holler If Ya Hear Me
2 Pac's Theme
3 Point The Finga
4 Something 2 Die 4
5 Last Wordz - 2Pac & Ice Cube/Ice-T
6 Souljah's Revenge
7 Peep Game - 2Pac & Deadly Threat
8 Strugglin' - 2Pac & Live Squad
9 Guess Who's Back
11 Keep Ya Head Up
12 Strictly 4 My NIGGAZ
13 Streetz R Deathrow
14 I Get Around - 2Pac & Digital Underground
15 Papa'z Song - 2Pac & Wycked
16 Five Deadly Venomz - 2Pac & Treach/Apache/Live Squad