All Eyez on Me is the fifth studio album by American rapper 2Pac, released February 13, 1996 under Death Row Records and distributed by Interscope Records.
The album is frequently recognized as one of the crowning achievements of 1990s rap music. The album featured the Billboard Hot 100 number one singles "How Do U Want It" and "California Love". It featured five singles in all, the most of any of Shakur's albums. Moreover, All Eyez on Me (which was the only Death Row release to be distributed through PolyGram by way of Island Records) made history as the first double-full-length hip-hop solo studio album released for mass consumption. It was issued on two compact discs and four LPs.
Chart-wise, All Eyez on Me was the second album from 2Pac to hit number-one on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. The album won the 1997 Soul Train R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year Award. Shakur also won the Award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist at the 24th Annual American Music Awards and is also commonly referred to as one of the greatest hip hop/rap albums of all time. The album was certified Diamond by the RIAA in July 23, 2014.
In October 1995, Suge Knight and Jimmy Iovine paid the $1.4 million bail necessary to get Shakur released from jail on charges of sexual abuse. At the time, Shakur was broke and thus unable to make bail himself. All Eyez on Me was released following an agreement between Knight and Shakur which stated Shakur would make three albums under Death Row Records in return for them paying his bail. Fulfilling part of Shakur's brand new contract, this double-album served as the first two albums of his three album contract.
The songs on All Eyez on Me are, in general, unapologetic celebrations of living the "Thug Lifestyle". Though there is the occasional reminiscence about past and present friends, it is a definite move away from the social and political consciousness of 2Pacalypse Now and Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..
The album features occasional guest spots from 2Pac's regulars, such as former-Thug Life members and the Outlawz, as well as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, Dr. Dre, Nate Dogg, George Clinton, Rappin' 4-Tay, Method Man, and Redman among others. The song "Heartz of Men" samples a portion of Richard Pryor's comedy album That Nigger's Crazy. Most of the album was produced by Johnny "J" and Daz Dillinger, with help from Dr. Dre on the songs "California Love", which he himself appeared in also as an album guest spot, and "Can't C Me", which was Clinton's appearance.
All Eyez on Me received critical acclaim from a number of sources. The album was included in Rolling Stone 's essential recordings of the '90s. Spin magazine gave it a 10 out of 10, writing that, "As long as you don't expect philanthropy from Tupac, you'll find honesty and some pleasurably twisted scenarios."The record ranked No. 3 on Entertainment Weekly 's list of Top 10 albums of 1996. A number of other sources celebrated or reacted to the album. AMG stated that "despite some undeniable filler, it is easily the best production 2Pac's ever had on record".
On MTV's Greatest Rappers of All Time list, All Eyez on Me was listed as one of 2Pac's "certified classic" albums, along with 2Pacalypse Now, Me Against the World and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.
Rapper Soulja Boy has called the album his favorite of all time.
All Eyez On Me was released to a significant amount of critical praise and commercial success. It sold 566,000 copies in the first week of its release, and was charted on the top 100 with the top one-week. It was certified 5× Platinum after two months in April 1996 and was later certified 9× Platinum in 1998. It has shipped 10,000,000 copies in the United States as of July 23, 2014 and has been certified Diamond by the RIAA, which makes it one of the best-selling albums in the U.S. The album was certified for 60,000 sales in the UK by BPI by 1 January 1997. It has charted on Billboard 200 for 105 weeks in total.
All Eyez On Me is 2Pac's best selling album. It was re-released in 2001 as enhanced CDs containing the "California Love" music video. Both discs contained the same data track. It was also re-released as a Dual-Disc in 2005.
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