Let’s face it, when you think Tupac Shakur you’re not thinking romantic slow jams. Songs like “Hit ‘Em Up” and “Hail Mary” are as aggressive and in-your-face as they come. Tracks like “I Get Around”, “How Do You Want It”, and “Toss It Up” were hardcore braggadocious sex jams. Even if he put “love” in the song title like “California Love”, it was a West Coast Hip Hop party anthem more than an actual love song. But 2Pac loved the ladies and recorded an album’s worth of tender songs like “Until The End of Time” and “Do For Love”. Three of Tupac’s smoothest R&B tracks are highlighted today:
“ARE U STILL DOWN” – 2Pac Ft. Jon B
In 1998, blue-eyed soul singer, Jon B., and Tupac teamed up for a romantic ballad that went to #2 on the Billboard R&B charts. The song appeared on Jon’s “Cool Relax” album and featured some of the last recorded verses of Tupac prior to his death. It’s essentially Jon’s song but Tupac’s chants of “are you still down” are what sticks in your head long after the song ends.
“CAN U GET AWAY” From Me Against The World
You’ll be reminded of the original rap love song, LL Cool J’s “I Need Love” with this one. Like “Dear Mama” which appears on the same album, Tupac opens up his heart and shows his love for the special woman in his life. “Can U Get Away” was written for his girlfriend, Lisa Lopez AKA “Left Eye” of TLC. The softer side of Tupac is enhanced by the rare use of a female singer on the chorus here. His label actually debated whether they should release “Dear Mama” or “Can U Get Away” as the single.
“UNCONDITIONAL LOVE” from 2Pac’s Greatest Hits
The second posthumous single by 2Pac was actually not even going to be recorded by him. Written for MC Hammer who had joined Death Row Records (remember his “Pumps And A Bump” phase?), “Unconditional Love” ended up being released on Tupac’s Greatest Hits album. Hammer and Tupac were long time friends dating back to their days in California. At the 2004 VH1 Hip Hop Honors show, Hammer read the lyrics to this beautiful spiritually minded song and shared his love for his lost friend and ally.