Various 2Pac Tribute: Dare 2 Struggle

Yet another 2Pac "tribute” album sees the light of day. This one has a twist however: the album, released to coincide with 2Pac’s 35th birthday by his currently incarcerated stepfather Dr. Mutulu Shakur, marks "the first ever compilation to feature incarcerated rappers alongside hip-hop heavyweights.” With such a professed and ambitious distinction, Dare 2 Struggle features cuts from Mopreme (of Thug Life), Outlawz, Slick, Johnny J, Imaan Faith and Deejay Ra along with a 16-page "Code of the Thug Life” booklet and a sneak preview of Mutulu’s forthcoming novel about 2Pac titled N 2 Da Gutter.' On top of that, they claim that half of all proceeds go to "inner city health and education initiatives” — who am I to slam the sentiment? The actual songs on this project, however, are fair game. And it’s pretty much what you’d expect — gangsta dialectic wrapped up in "Yo dawg, check out the beat I just made” type assembly. That said, joints like Slick’s "Since You’ve Been Gone” are worth a few spins and the overall "change the gang life mentality” vibe is commendable. While the album isn’t something I’d have on heavy repeat, I can’t knock the charitable hustle, and no doubt this CD will get snapped up by hardcore 2Pac completists. (Benbecula)