Twenty years ago today, on February 13, 1996, hip-hop’s renowned thug 2Pac dropped his epic fourth studio album, All Eyez On Me, under Death Row Records. The album 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, and instantly peaked at #1 on both the Pop and R&B charts thanks to the first single, “California Love”. Recognized as one of the greatest rap albums in the hip-hop genre, All Eyez On Me, solidified 2Pac’s status as the top rap artist in the game and best-selling rapper of that year.
Out on Bail
In October of 1995, Death Row CEO Suge Knight and music executive Jimmy Iovine paid the $1.4 million bail necessary to get Tupac Shakur released from jail on charges of sexual abuse. At the time, Tupac Shakur was not able to bail himself out of prison. All Eyez On Me was released following an agreement between Suge Knight and Tupac Shakur, which stated Tupac would make three albums under Death Row Records in return for them paying his bail. Fulfilling part of Tupac’s brand new contract, this double-album served as the first two albums of his three album contract.
When 2Pac reached Can-Am Studios in Los Angeles that evening, he immediately went to work on his new album. He worked until daybreak completing the songs “Ambitionz Az A Ridah,” “Skandalouz,” “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” “Got My Mind Made Up,” and “I Ain’t Mad At Cha”. 2Pac was determined to be the number one rapper in the world and his work ethic supported that.
As of July 23, 2014, All Eyez On Me has been certified Diamond by the RIAA, which makes it one of the best-selling albums in America. All Eyez On Me is also 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.