Tupacs Posthumous Albums Anger Fans     

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11/1/2003 12:02:55 PM
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Tupacs Posthumous Albums Anger Fans
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According to the con-spiracy theorist’s calen-dar, the late Tupac Shakur (a.k.a. 2Pac) has about two months to prove he is alive.

Mere minutes after 2Pac was reported dead from multiple gunshot wounds in September of 1996, accounts of exactly how and why he was faking his death sprang up like so many well-endowed ladies in the rapper’s videos. One theory was that ‘Pac had gone underground and would resurface seven years later; a belief based on the album ‘Pac was working on at the time, titled Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, which he recorded under the alias Makaveli (infamous Italian philosopher Machiavelli once wrote about faking one’s death).

In the meantime, while waiting for 2Pac to show up at the next MTV Music Video Awards, fans listened attentively to every posthumous release for the one post-‘96 reference that would confirm their hero was indeed living. (“He just said ‘Lou Bega,’ yo! Pac’s alive!”)

So here we are, seven years later, and unless ‘Pac pops up soon I suppose we have to give it up and admit there is no Black Elvis.

Personally, I hope ‘Pac does come back. Even if he never makes another song, I want to see him regulate on everyone who’s been capitalizing on his legacy by releasing “brand-new” albums years after he (supposedly) died.

Earlier this month, Death Row Records released NuMixx Klazzics, a collection of remixed 2Pac hits. It’s the eighth official album released since 2Pac’s death, to go along with about a dozen bootleg CDs floating around.

Rumor had it that while living, 2Pac recorded about 150 unheard songs. From this untapped reservoir of material, record labels have put out everything from a greatest hits album to a group effort with former lackeys The Outlawz to a collection of Shakur’s poetry being read by spoken word artists. The most recent releases, 2002’s Better Dayz and this year’s NuMixx Klazzics, have pushed the number of Dead ‘Pac albums (eight) past the number of Living ‘Pac albums (six).

This has landed 2Pac at number eight on Forbes’ list of top-earning dead celebrities, joining fellow musicians Elvis, John Lennon, George Harrison and Bob Marley in the top ten.

In hip-hop, recreating the music of the deceased hasn’t just been limited to 2Pac. In recent years we’ve seen albums from dead rappers Notorious B.I.G., Big Punisher, Big L and Eazy-E. And as evidenced by Forbes’ lists, artists in other genres get the same treatment.

It isn’t so much that these albums are bad (though NuMixx Klazzics is about as weak as a Mr. Rogers temper tantrum). I will admit to owning Biggie’s Born Again, Big Pun’s Endangered Species, and two of 2Pac’s post-‘96 albums, all posthumous work. Most of the songs are pretty good, some are even great…but something’s just not right about it.

These songs were unreleased for a reason, most likely because the artist wasn’t satisfied with the product. Imagine someone going into your room, taking the rough draft of a mid-term essay and giving it to your teacher before you had a chance to touch it up. Now imagine if you wrote essays for a living and took your art form as s

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