Twenty years ago, on November 5, 1996, Death Row Records released Tupac Shakur’s fifth studio rap album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. Released under Tupac’s new stage name Makaveli, it was his first studio album to be posthumously released. The album was completed in a total of seven days during the first week of August 1996.The lyrics were written and recorded in only three days and mixing took an additional four days. These are the last songs Tupac Shakur recorded before his fatal shooting on September 7, 1996 in Las Vegas. The album reached number one on both the Pop and R&B charts, and generated the second-highest debut-week sales total of any album that year, selling 664,000 within its first week in stores.
Recognized by many as Tupac’s best body of work, The Don Killuminati: 7 Day Theory is the darkest and most controversial album of his musical career. The album cover features Tupac Shakur on the cross to convey his crucifixion by the media, is intended to imply an artistic resurrection. The raw emotions and anger showcased on this album has Tupac in his “war mode”. At the height of the infamous East Coast–West Coast feud, Makaveli verbally attacks his rivals such as The Notorious B.I.G., Junior M.A.F.I.A., Puff Daddy, De La Soul, Jay-Z, Mobb Deep, Nas and former Death Row label mate Dr. Dre, as well as New York based hip hop executives Jimmy “Henchman” Rosemond, Jacques “Haitian Jack” Agnant and Walter “King Tut” Johnson with accusations of being associates of Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records in orchestrating the 1994 Quad Studio assault on most of the songs.
To my assessment, the standout songs on the album are “Bomb First (my second reply)”, “Hail Mary”, “Toss It Up”, “To Live & Die In L.A.”, “Just Like Daddy” and “Against All Odds”. Like many fans of Tupac, I felt like The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is a classic rap album.
Today, the album is quintuple platinum in the United States, which made it #24 on a list of highest selling hip-hop albums of all time. The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory continues to inspired today’s rappers and young generation. Not only it is a hip-hop masterpiece, but also a celebration of the late great Tupac’s life.