Summer of 96 All Eyez on Me, You Had to be There

When 2PAC announced he just signed with Death Row records in November 1995, hip hop fans and the music industry went nuts! 2PAC and Death Row was the biggest entity in west coast rap; it was like Kevin Durant joining the Warriors! For those of you who were not there that’s the best way I can articulate that look and that feeling.

Besides the minor details, anticipations were high for a couple of reasons; his 4th album “Me Against The World” went multi platinum while he was locked up, His first album under Death Row would feature productions from Dr. Dre, Daz and Dj Quick as well as features from Snoop Dogg and the Dogg Pound. Prior to Pac signing to the Row, there were no collabs or productions between him and Death Row artists on that level. Not for nothing, Death Row had a certain sound quality when it came to mixing their records . Everybody from Jermaine Dupri, Easy Moe Bee, Scarface, Premo, and Puff Daddy were trying to catch up to Dr Dre’s mixes. You can understand how 2PAC joining Death Row would be such a big deal because on paper, this would be his best produced and recorded album. Today we have an equalizer called Pro Tools where all the mixes sounds pretty much the same.

There were obviously more production and features  when All Eyez came out in February 1996, it quickly went gold the first week and 6 times platinum by this time in June 1996. Everywhere I went the album or bootleg was bumping in cars on the block or the red light. We had other artist like the Fugees and Goodie Mob doing their thing, OutKast was cruising under the radar with their 2nd album ATLiens, Dr. Dre dropped a bombshell that he left The Row like a month or two after Pac’s album came out, Bad Boy went lukewarm, Nas dropped his second album “It Was Written”, and 2Pac was banging on Bad Boy with his dis song and video “Hit em Up”. The summer of 96 was crazy! Hip hop was peaking offering different flavors from the east coast to the west. Non the less, All Eyez On Me had an omni presence throughout the whole summer.