Today in Hip Hop History: November 12, 1991
Tupac Amaru Shakur, aka 2Pac, Pac and Makaveli, released his debut studio album, 2Pacalypse Now, through Interscope Records in 1991. The album marks the official beginning of one of the greatest hip hop artists and activists in history. It featured production from Big D the Impossible, Shock G (of Digital Underground), Underground Railroad, Live Squad and others. It also contains outside vocals from relatively unknown artists: Stretch, Ray Luv, Mac Mone, Money B and DJ Fuze, among others.
The album cover contains a photo, by Victor Hall, of Pac standing in a group of guys wearing hoodies in Oakland, California. Pac released three singles for 2Pacalypse Now: “Trapped,” “If My Homie Calls” and “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” the latter to which has achieved classic status among his discography.
The album title is also a reference to the famous film about the Vietnam war, Apocalypse Now (1979). Although 2Pacalypse Now was originally released by Interscope, his mother now owns the rights to the album through her company, Amaru Entertainment.
The album arouse much controversy at a time where gangsta rap, and rap in general, was raising concern in mainstream U.S. culture. Then Vice President Dan Quayle issued public criticism for the album after a young man shot a police officer and claimed he was influenced by the album. Regardless, a piece of music is never a sufficient reason to harm another human being; 2Pacalypse Now was left alone.
Despite this controversy, 2Pacalypse Now enjoyed great commercial success. The album peaked at #64 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and #13 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. It has since become RIAA Certified Gold in 1995 for selling over 900,000 copies in its existence.