2Pacalypse Now is the debut solo studio album by American rapper 2Pac, released on November 12, 1991, by Interscope Records and Jive Records. 2Pacalypse Now is Tupac’s commentary on contemporary social issues facing American society, such as racism, police brutality, poverty, black on black crime, and teenage pregnancy. It featured three singles: “Brenda’s Got a Baby“, “Trapped“, and “If My Homie Calls“.
2Pacalypse Now received critically acclaimed reviews from critics and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on April 19, 1995. In commemoration of its twenty-fifth anniversary, it was released on vinyl and cassette on November 11, 2016
The album generated significant controversy stemming from then-U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle’s public criticism after Ronald Ray Howard murdered a Texas state trooper and his defense attorney claimed he was influenced by 2Pacalypse Now and its strong theme of police brutality. Quayle made the statement, “There’s no reason for a record like this to be released. It has no place in our society.”[
2Pacalypse Now features productions by Digital Underground member Shock G and Stretch, as well as guest appearances from rappers Poppi and Pogo, R&B singer Dave Hollister and Stretch himself
2Pacalypse Now is a socially conscious hip hop album. It serves as Tupac’s social commentary on issues that plague American society, including police brutality, gang violence, black on black crime, teenage pregnancy and racism. The album poetically addresses black urban concerns relevant to the present day. Although a relatively tame album compared to Shakur’s later works, 2Pacalypse Now was known for its violent lyrics aimed at police officers and the government in the songs Trapped, I Don’t Give a Fuck and Soulja’s Story
2Pacalypse Now received generally positive reviews from critics. Although the album’s political messages, lyrics and his storytelling were praised, Tupac Shakur’s debut album was criticized for its production. In a retrospective review, RapReviews gave the album 4 stars out of 5 and said: “It’s not an extraordinarily long album, but it is a dense and heavy listen that will take a lot out of you if you pay close attention to the persistent theme. The beats overall fail to make much of an impression, but perhaps that is as it should be, since nothing should be allowed to outshine this kind of lyrical performance. Tupac’s vitriol is carried by his sincerity and charisma, both of which would emerge as key traits of the figure that blossomed in the years to come. Over the course of Tupac’s career, the political got suffused by the personal and receded from the central position it occupied on his debut”.
2Pacalypse Now peaked at number 64 on the US Billboard 200 and number 13 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. On April 19, 1995, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of over 500,000 copies in the United States. As of September 2011, the album has sold 923,455 copies in the United States.