There are very few deceased rappers who have made such a prolific and resonating impact on the culture of hip hop in the way that Tupac has. Even 24 years after his death it doesn’t take long to come across the influences his music has had, evident with the thematic parallels of fables and themes involving Thug Life, present in the vast array of today’s gangster rap. Tupac was incredibly hard working artist in his short time on earth, and recorded a vast collection of songs, with a large bulk of that material still unreleased to this day.
There are very few people that are even aware of a lot of these unreleased songs, though many are available with a quick google search online, thanks to the marvels of the modern era. Even after Tupac passed away the posthumous releases kept on coming, with albums like Still I Rise, Better Dayz, Loyal 2 the Game and Pac’s life a testament to the prolific work ethic of Tupac Shakur. Still it has been nearly 15 years since Pac’s life album dropped, and since then the official releases have been far in few inbetween.
It is easy to surmise that many of the songs Tupac recorded have been released, and the vaults may finally be running dry. It turns out though from a closer inspection, and a bit of solid research that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reasons why we may not see another 2pac album can be explained with a few solid arguments.
MANY ORIGINAL RECORDINGS HAVE BEEN LOST
When Tupac recorded songs, many of these were on bulky tape file formats that required a lot of storage. It is not hard to envision some of these original recordings have simply been lost, destroyed or misplaced over time. Without the original recordings it is currently impossibly to retrieve Tupac a-cappella’s, and without the vocal recordings, making commercially palatable songs is next to impossible. There is a glimmer of hope though, and may come in the form of breakthrough algorithmic sampling technology, where powerful software may be able to extract an a-cappella from a song even when there is a background instrumental.
SOME ORIGINAL RECORDINGS HAVE BEEN DESTROYED
A fire in 2008 destroyed a warehouse at Universal Studios in Hollywood, and was rumoured to be holding some previously unreleased Tupac songs. Though there is no official confirmation of this, it is logical to assume that some form of Tupac Music catalogue loss occurred. It is also possible that songs Tupac recorded prior to Death Row have been lost or destroyed by producers or artists the legendary rapper worked with, through either accident or intent.
PRODUCERS AND ARTISTS WITH SONGS DON’T WANT THE LEGAL TROUBLE
With any official release any artist or producer must get permission from the Estate of Tupac, and this may be one hurdle that song holders do not want to overcome. The headache and cost of going through this process may be enough to simply prevent people from releasing songs. Tupac worked with many producers including Easy Mo Bee, Mike Mosley, Daz Dillinger, Johnny J, Dj Quik, Money B, Tony Pizarro, Dough Rasheed, Dj King Assassin, Warren G and QD3 to name a few. A few artists Tupac collaborated with on songs, never officially released include, WC, Big Daddy Kane, Madonna, Tray Deee, Numbskull, Greg Nice, Grand Puba, Heavy D and Too Short.
I personally know that certain artists and producers who have unreleased and un-leaked Tupac songs, without mentioning any names. It is often the thought of legal due process to release this material that is the first thing brought up when it is enquired about these songs seeing the light of day. I even know of producers who have full unreleased Biggie cuts, but steadfast refuse to even mention this fact out of fear for legal consequence in doing so.
DIGITAL SALE RETURNS ARE NOT WHAT THEY USED TO BE
Never to overlook the cost in making an album, and at the end of the day any stakeholder in a music project want to make a return on their investment. The profitability of releasing music in 2020 is nowhere near what it once was. Very few artists break bread off their actual album sales, and a major release may not make enough money to justify a release, unless of-course that song or album is a major commercial hit. It is not an exaggeration to state that the commercial viability of any future Tupac music may of already been factored into equations, with Estate owners having already contemplated releases.
Whatever the future may bring there is always hope of a future release, even when we factor in all the aforementioned possibilities, we must remain optimistic. Good things always come to those who wait, so I will continue to wait for another major Tupac album release, because one must never say never!!!!!!