Tupac Shakur has been a lot more prophetic than everyone thought. I mean, how else can you explain his continued transcendence of death? How else can he be releasing so much new music?
Dead, alive, saint, in witness protection -- whatever it is, Shakur has yet another album. This time, it's the soundtrack to a movie documenting his struggle to survive in the world and in the rap industry.
Resurrection is a little bit of a greatest hits record and a little bit of a tribute album, but mostly it's an attempt by Shakur's friends and fans to keep his memory alive. The soundtrack features Shakur's "Rebel of the Underground," "Holler of Ya Hear Me," "Bury Me a G," "Str8 Ballin'" and "Death Around the Corner" -- all favorites from previously released records. Aside from those tracks, the rest of the album is "post-death" work from the 1997 Legends, the 1999 Secretz of War and new songs strung together by producers and Shakur's friends. Are they working entirely alone? Isn't it a little hard to believe that Shakur left behind such a huge archive of unfinished work?
Altogether, the album took a lot of hard work by a lot of artists -- including some who never even knew Shakur. Eminem, who was still a smalltime Detroit rap novice in the '90s, produced a large portion of Resurrection. On one of the newest tracks, "One Day at a Time," Eminem weaves his rhyming expertise into some of Shakur's previously recorded work.
Eminem also lent a producing hand to "Dying to Live," the only single off the record so far. The track blends recorded conversations and lyrics by Shakur and his oldest friend and rival, the Notorious B.I.G. Producers turned it all into one big dialogue between the two -- perhaps a final attempt at putting the rappers' arguments to bed once and for all.
The album is a reflection of the huge impact Shakur continues to make on the rap industry and, more important, a lesson on how he rose from the rags of poverty to the 'do-rags of wealth. He remains one of the most controversial and influential rap artists ever.