26 Best 2Pac Songs List for a Party Playlist

There is no question that Tupac Shakur’s legacy will endure for years and years to come. The rapper was more than just a groundbreaking lyricist or a phenomenal performer; he was the people’s champion, the shining light in his field, and, like many legends before his time, he is recalled as an icon.

I’ve selected his 26 greatest tracks as part of a phenomenal playlist demonstrating why Tupac is an eternal icon.

Tupac Songs

26 Of 2Pac’s Greatest Tracks

1. Keep Ya Head Up

Released in 1993 on the album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.

Lyrics To Inspire You:

And since a man can’t make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up

Keep Ya Head Up is the ideal display of the man’s sensitive side, and is possibly his best individual effort ever. Pac conveys the message about keeping on top of the fight and having respect for everyone, irrespective of gender, atop DJ Daryl’s depiction of Zapp & Roger’s song “Be Alright.”

2. Dear Mama

Released in 1995 on the album Me Against the World

Lyrics To Inspire You:

There’s no way I can pay you back
But the plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated
Lady, don’t you know we love you? (Dear Mama)

2Pac’s homage to his mother, Afeni Shakur, “Dear Mama,” has become the Mother’s Day hip-hop theme song. In this meticulously crafted masterpiece, Shakur thanks Mama for working tirelessly during the day to put food on the table and trying to free him from the dangers of street life at night.

3. California Love

Released in 1995 on the album California Love

Lyrics To Inspire You:

California knows how to party
In the city of L.A
In the city of good ol’ Watts
In the city, the city of Compton
We keep it rockin’, we keep it rockin’

Though it is sometimes overshadowed by Tupac’s more emotional To Live and Die in LA, the track California Love is among his most well-known works. Dr. Dre’s piano-laden creation serves as the foundation for a joyous ode to California, whereas Roger Troutman’s chorus adds some spice to the mix.

4. To Live and Die In L.A

Released in 1996 on the album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

Lyrics To Inspire You:

To live and die in L.A., it’s the place to be
(And the angels go) You’ve got to be there to know it
When everybody wanna see

Tupac loved Los Angeles, all the way from Venice Beach to San Gabriel Valley or anywhere in between, and the city definitely loved him back. Of course, California Love was a fun party song about the Golden State, however, To Live and Die in L.A. was a genuine tribute to his genuine adoptive home. The fact that it had become one of his many swan songs further immortalized his name and unending connection to the city, still to this day.

5. Only God Can Judge Me

Released in 1996 on the album All Eyez on Me

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Recollect your thoughts don’t get caught up in the mix
‘Cause the media is full of dirty tricks
Only God can judge me

On the one hand, 2Pac and Rappin’ 4-Tay exchange bars about imperfection, while on the other, they ponder the afterlife. This song is among the best on All Eyez on Me, the highly acclaimed double album.

6. So Many Tears

Released in 1995 on the album Me Against the World

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Call on the sirens, seen him murdered in the streets
Now rest in peace
Is there a heaven for a G? Remember me
So many homies in the cemetery, shed so many tears

So Many Tears reveals Tupac making a plea to God, recognizing past sins, and his thoughts full of demons over the somber puffs of Stevie Wonder’s That Girl’s harmonica solo. Pac reflects on the sadness he’s experienced over the lives he’s witnessed taken by violence. One of his most profound and personal moments.

7. Hail Mary

Released in 1996 on the album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Mama told me never stop until I bust a nut
F*** the world if they can’t adjust
It’s just as well, Hail Mary

On this truly outstanding track from 1996’s Makaveli, 2Pac serves up a dose of vitriol over a hazy cosmic soundtrack. Eminem, 50 Cent, as well as Busta Rhymes notably, summoned ‘Pac’s spirit in 2003 when they reimagined Hail Mary” as a diss towards Ja Rule and Irv Gotti.

8. Me Against The World

Released in 1995 on the album Me Against the World

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Don’t wanna make excuses, ’cause this is how it is
What’s the use? Unless we’re shootin’, no one notices the youth
It’s just me against the world, baby

This title track from 2Pac’s 1995 masterwork, Me Against the World, epitomizes the rapper’s eff-the-world, melodramatic attitude.

9. My Block

Released in 1995 on the album Russell Simmons Presents The Show: The Soundtrack

Lyrics To Inspire You:

My block, where everything is everything for sheezy
My block, we probably done it all homey believe me
My block, we made the impossible look easy, for sheezy

While saying prayers for better days, ‘Pac shouts out to his ‘hood.

10. Old School

Released in 1995 on the album Me Against the World

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Listen to Treach and KRS to get me through the night
With T La Rock and Mantronix, to Stetsasonic
Remember “Push It” was the bomb shit, nothin’ like the old school

With all of the name-dropping and ode that occurs in Pac’s name today, it’s easy to overlook that he was once a rising star. Shakur thanks everybody from MC Lyte and Big Daddy Kane to Rakim and Slick Rick for laying the groundwork for ambitious hip-hop artists on “Old School.”

11. Trapped

Released in 1991 on the album 2Pacalypse Now

Lyrics To Inspire You:

They got me trapped
Uh-uh, they can’t keep the Black man down
They got me trapped
Nah, they can’t keep the Black man down

Tupac’s voice becomes more pressing with each bar as he continues to criticize the so-called system of justice and the prison complex.

12. Brenda’s Got A Baby

Released in 1991 on the album 2Pacalypse Now

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Now Brenda’s gotta make her own way
Can’t go to her family, they won’t let her stay
No money, no babysitter, she couldn’t keep a job

‘Pac tells a story of a 12-year-old girl who unintentionally conceives and is unable to raise her child on his debut from 1991’s 2Pacalypse Now. Numerous rappers have kept the debate going seventeen years later by releasing their own styles of song: Runaway Love and Lil Girl Gone, and yet Brenda’s Got a Baby to this day comes out on top.

13. Ambitionz As A Ridah

Released in 1996 on the album All Eyez on Me

Lyrics To Inspire You:

You don’t wanna f*** with me
(My ambitions as a ridah)
Got the police bustin’ at me
But they can’t do nothin’ to a G (I won’t deny it, I’m a straight ridah)

The ferocious opening track for Pac’s most successful and popular album, All Eyez On Me, sets the stage instantly; fearsome, brusque, and unyielding, this song supports a macabre foreshadowing of the conflict and paranoia that would plague Tupac’s career for the rest of his life.

14. I Wonder If Heaven’s Got A Ghetto

Released in 1992 on the album Troublesome 21

Lyrics To Inspire You:

We can’t have peace till the n***** get a piece too
I want G’s so you label me a criminal
And if I die, I wonder if Heaven got a ghetto

Going back to his position as a social agitator and outspoken messiah, 2Pac questions the material world’s failed institutions and starts to wonder if the divine is much more tolerant and understanding. Pac, vulnerable yet assured, offers no apologies in this earnest song, only hope.

15. Life Goes On

Released in 1996 on the album All Eyez on Me

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I love them n*****s to death, I’m drinkin’ Hennessy
While trying to make it last
I drank a fifth for that when you passed
‘Cause life goes on

This All Eyez On Me gem finds 2Pac pushing himself forward after the loss of some loved ones. Life Goes On serves as a deeply moving reminder of ‘Pac’s ability to show strength and determination throughout the hardship.

16. When Thugz Cry

Released in 2001 on the album Until the End of Time

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Oh, why should you send your child off to die?
In the streets of chalk where they lie
Let no wrongs cry out when thugs cry, dear God
Oh my, does it have to be this way?

Self-pity is typically reserved for adolescent girls, but 2Pac transforms it into a track about the oppression that leads to Black-on-Black violence within the African-American community.

17. Picture Me Rollin

Released in 1996 on the album All Eyez on Me

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Can you see me now
Move to the side a little bit so you can get a clear picture
Can you see it?
Pictue me rollin

With inventive production and guests, Tupac gets enough ammunition from Syke and CPO to turn an otherwise mundane roll across the city into an atmospheric portrait of life on the streets. Pac responds to his critics and naysayers with his trademark energy and lyricism, providing a victorious assertion of individuality in the face of difficulties.

18. Lord Knows

Released in 1995 on the album Me Against the World

Lyrics To Inspire You:

‘Cause I done suffered so much, I’m feelin’ shell-shocked
And driveby’s an everyday thang
I done lost too many homies to this m’n game
And Lord knows

A frustrated and angry Shakur strives to maintain optimism in this track – Me Against the World, a sincere lamentation of ills within the Black society. This song is introspective and spiritual, and it represents Pac at his most truthful: conflicted, disenchanted, and clinging desperately to the hope of redemption.

19. Hit Em Up

Released in 1996 on the B-side to the single “How Do U Want It”

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Who shot me? But ya punks didn’t finish
Now ya ’bout to feel the wrath of a menace
N****, I hit em’ up

Tupac’s vitriolic, mean-spirited, and outright provocative diss record directed at Notorious B.I.G. raised what was a bitter rivalry between old friends to outright warfare. Pac, accompanied by the Outlawz’s marginally skilled ranks, exposed personal matters—including an affair with Biggie’s partner, Faith Evans—for all to see, offering hip-hop perhaps among the most noteworthy and venomous tracks.

20. Changes

Released in 1998 on the album Greatest Hits

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere
Unless we share with each other
We gotta start makin’ changes
Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers

Changes, perhaps Tupac’s most recognizable song, grasped the unique duality of being a best seller and a vehicle of social upliftment. The hit track Changes is timeless even today.

21. Until The End Of Time

Released in 2001 on the album Until the End of Time

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Bringin’ a cease to the peace that was on my block
It never stops, when my mama ask me will I change, I tell her
“Yeah, but it’s clear I’ll always be the same until the end of time”

This Broken Wings Richard Page remix, an iconic remix track, mirrored Tupac’s personality quite well. The heavy bass, snares, and church bells grip the listener as ‘Pac pours his soul over it with grit and honesty.

22. 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted

Released in 1996 on the album All Eyez on Me

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Now follow as we ride
M—k the rest, two of the best from the West side
And I can make you famous
N***** been dyin’ for years, so how can they blame us

This is the track that blew the epic Biggie-Tupac rivalry off the hinges. Anointed as the new left coast prince, ‘Pac revealed a new aspect of himself: a smart, young comrade of the mid-’90s gangsta rap movement, alongside Tha Doggfather. Atop a silky-smooth party track, the dynamic duo spits brutal daggers toward East Coast adversaries.

23. Runnin’ (Dying to Live)

Released in 2003 on the album Tupac: Resurrection

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Why am I trying to see when there ain’t nothing in sight?
Why am I trying to give when no one gives me a try?
Why am I dying to live if I’m just living to die?

Eminem combined two productions by the pals to create a sentimental track that reminded us all of what we’d missed since their deaths. Big and Pac came to symbolize all the phenomenal talent lost to violence, and the madness of tribalism after being killed within 6 months of each other. They became inextricably linked forever and ever.

24. 16 On Death Row

Released in 1997 on the album R U Still Down? (Remember Me)

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Livin’ like a thief, runnin through the streets
Bye bye, and I got no place to go
Where they find me? 16 on Death Row

Pac, who is still figuring out his style, tries out several methods here that he will use frequently in the future. The Geto Boys’ impact can be felt in both rhythm and subject matter, particularly in his intense representations of a world through paranoid eyes.

In this song, as in the majority of his career, he depicts our world as a dark, inequitable place full of negativity and racists out to imprison him. To tell his tales more clearly, he slows his rhymes. He also began to favor blues and funk, both lyrically and musically.

25. Military Minds

Released in 2002 on the album Better Dayz

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Why try
Everybody lie
About the block
True soldier mentality
This is how we rock and move

Pac’s final rallying cry. Pac emerged from prison with a greater emphasis on military strategy. The art of war became a constant motif in his songs and the basis for his movements. In the months and weeks leading up to his death, he made specific alliances to counter his image as a strictly West Coast artist.

26. Ghetto Gospel

Released in 2005 on the album Loyal to the Game

Lyrics To Inspire You:

It ain’t about black or white, ‘cause we human
I hope we see the light before it’s ruined
My ghetto gospel

Early Tupac and Elton John appear to be an unlikely pairing – but this heartfelt rendition worked so well that it became one of Tupac’s most influential and famous songs even to this day.

2Pac’s Highest-Charting Singles

(US Rap)

  • #1 “Dear Mama”, 1995
  • #1 “California Love” featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman, 1996
  • #1 “How Do U Want It” featuring K-Ci & JoJo, 1996
  • #1 “Changes” featuring Talent, 1998
  • #2 “Keep Ya Head Up”, 1993
  • #2 “Do for Love” featuring Eric Williams, 1998
  • #2 “Smile” Scarface featuring 2Pac and Johnny P, 1997
  • #3 “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, 1991
  • #3 “If My Homie Calls”, 1992
  • #4 “Hail Mary” featuring The Outlawz and Prince Ital Joe, 1997
  • #4 “I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto”, 1997
  • #4 “Thugz Mansion” featuring Nas and J. Phoenix, 2002
  • #5 “Toss It Up” featuring Danny Boy, K-Ci & JoJo, and Aaron Hall, 1996
  • #5 “Runnin’ (Dying to Live)” featuring The Notorious B.I.G., 2003

FAQs

Tupac was an African-American rap artist who came to encapsulate the 1990s gangsta-rap elegance and was an icon of noble struggle after his death. To date, he has managed to sell 75 million records, which means he is among the best-selling musicians in history.

Tupac was assassinated near a hotel in Las Vegas in September 1996 and died a week later. The murder remains unsolved.

Tupac started out his rap life as a rebellion against society, expressing the hardships and injustices that many people of African-American ethnicity faced. His ability to do so made him a communicator not only for his generation but also for future generations who would undoubtedly come across the same fight for equality.

His greatest battle in life was often with himself. As fate led him to the cynicism of gangsta rap and then towards the hotly debated Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight, the lines between Shakur’s craftsmanship and his life had become increasingly muddled — with tragic results.

Do you have a favorite 2Pac song? Please share your song below in the comments!

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