From block to block, we snatchin' hearts and jackin' marks
And the punk police can't fade me, and maybe
We can have peace someday, G
Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z... is the second album by Tupac Shakur, released on February 16th, 1993.
The album finds 2Pac in a different place than his debut, after facing criticism over his more violent lyrics, starring in the movie Poetic Justice with Janet Jackson (with tensions on set), having run-ins with the law, and generally becoming a rising star in the hip-hop scene. Most of the lyricism on Strictly 4... involves 2Pac venting his frustrations with the problems in his life and coming to terms with his rising fame and controversy, making it a more personal and introspective album than his debut. That said, he still finds time to address social/political problems faced by the black community at the time, such as deadbeat fathers and the treatment of women.
Strictly 4... is generally considered the album where 2Pac broke through to the mainstream. It spawned four singles; "Holler If Ya Hear Me", "I Get Around", "Keep Ya Head Up" and "Papa'z Song". "I Get Around" and "Keep Ya Head Up" in particular were his earliest big crossover hits, helping propel him to superstardom not just in the hip-hop scene, but pop culture as a whole.
- "Holler If Ya Hear Me" (4:38)
- "Pac's Theme (Interlude)" (1:56)
- "Point the Finga'" (4:26)
- "Something 2 Die 4 (Interlude)" (2:43)
- "Last Wordz" (3:37)
- "Souljah's Revenge" (3:17)
- "Peep Game" (4:28)
- "Strugglin'" (3:34)
- "Guess Who's Back" (3:07)
- "Representin' 93" (3:34)
- "Keep Ya Head Up" (4:23)
- "Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..." (5:56)
- "The Streetz R Deathrow" (3:27)
- "I Get Around" (4:19)
- "Papa'z Song" (5:26)
- "5 Deadly Venomz" (5:14)
Strictly 4 My T.R.O.P.A.Z...
- Angry Black Man: Still showed this side a lot, like on "Holler If Ya Hear Me" and "Point the Finga".
- Bathtub Scene: The "I Get Around" video features 2Pac taking a bubble bath and smoking a cigar as a beautiful woman lights his cigar and rubs her hands all over him.
- Calling the Old Man Out: "Papa'z Song" sees 2Pac and his stepbrother, Mopreme Shakur AKA Wycked, tearing into their father for not being there for them and their mother. The final verse (rapped by Wycked with his voice altered to sound deeper) is from the father's viewpoint as he explains his side of the situation.Daddy's home...
You say that like that means somethin' to me.
You've been gone a mighty long motherfuckin' time for you to be comin' home, talkin' that 'daddy's home' shit.
We been gettin' along fine just without you... me, my brother, and my mother.
So if you don't mind, you can step the fuck off, pops.. fuck you!
- Conscious Hip Hop: A mix of this and Political Rap.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The "Papa'z Song" video.
- Dream Team: 2Pac, Ice Cube and Ice-T team up for "Last Wordz".
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: On "Keep Ya Head Up", 2Pac proclaims that men shouldn't hate women because, when you get down to it, all men came from women.
- Face on the Cover: A very colorful and heavily stylized shot of 2Pac standing shirtless.
- Fanservice: The "I Get Around" video. From 2Pac's shirtlessness to all the scantily clad ladies with him, it's got something for everyone.
- Glorified Sperm Donor: Deconstructed in "Papa'z Song".
- Intentionally Awkward Title: Duh. But remember, when 2Pac says "nigga", he means "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished".
- Letters 2 Numbers: The album title/title track and especially the interlude "Something 2 Die 4".
- Mood Whiplash: In the middle of this socio-political album is "I Get Around", a fun party jam about 2Pac and his homies having sex with other guys' girlfriends.
- Mr. Fanservice: This is the album where 2Pac started showing his sexier side, with him appearing shirtless on the album cover and in the "I Get Around" video.
- One-Word Title: "Strugglin'".
- Political Rap: Not quite as prominent as it was on 2Pacalypse Now, but it's still there.
- Really Gets Around: "I Get Around".
- Shout-Out: "I Get Around" has the lines "You ask 'why?' It don't matter / My pockets got fatter / Now everybody's looking for the latter". The last line is a play on the song "The Ladder" ("Everybody's looking for the ladder...") by Prince, who 2Pac was a big fan of.
- The Something Song: "Papa'z Song".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: In contrast to the angry and militant tracks he was known for, "Keep Ya Head Up" is a positive, uplifting song telling women they should be proud of themselves and not take any man's shit.
- Take That, Critics!: After a youth in Texas shot a state trooper, and claimed he was inspired by 2Pac's anti-police brutality lyrics, then-Vice President Dan Quayle publicly denounced 2Pacalypse Now as having "no place in our society" and called for the album to be pulled from shelves. On "Last Wordz", 2Pac gets back at him with the line "Dan Quayle, don't you know you need to get your ass kicked / Where was you when there was niggas in caskets? / Muthafuckin' rednecks all the same / Fear a nigga if he ain't balled and chained."
- Title Track: "Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..."
- Walking Shirtless Scene: The "I Get Around" video. The album cover, too.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: This is the album where 2Pac started doing this.