Entertainment Weekly - 10/14/94, p.60
"...You've got to hand it to Tupac...Where his solo releases have often dragged, ONE crackles with kinetic energy...ONE proves that more isn't necessarily merrier, but it's definitely more thrilling..." - Rating: A-
Melody Maker - 6/3/95, p.37
"...slinky/nasty G-funk in excelsis..."
Thug Life: 2Pac, Syke, Macadoshis, Mopreme, The Rated R (vocals).
Additional personnel includes: Albert Washington, Jr., Rochell (background vocals); Nate Dogg.
Y.N.V. includes: Natasha Walker.
Producers include: Thug Music, Jay, Mopreme, Johnny Jay, Warren G.
Engineers: Norman Whitfield, Barry Goldberg, Paul Arnold.
Recorded at Echo Sound Studios and Westlake Studios, Los Angeles, California; Blue Palm Studios, North Hollywood, California; Unique Studios, New York.
Personnel: Richard Pryor, The Isley Brothers, The O'Jays, Bootsy Collins (sampler); Albert Washington, Jr., Albert Washington, Jr. (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Moe Z M.D.
Audio Remixer: Lea Reis.
Recording information: Blue Palm Studios, North Hollywood, CA; Echo Sound Studios, LA, CA; Unique Studios, New York, NY; Unique Studios, NY, NY; Westlake Studios, LA, CA.
Photographer: Michael Miller .
His third solo album still warm on the racks, controversial rapper 2PAC follows up with this group side project. It's a gangsta record, of course, loaded with tales of young men and their guns. But neither 2PAC nor anyone else in the genre has ever sounded so buoyant or light.
Floating on soulful loops borrowed from the Isley Brothers, Curtis Mayfield and others, these tales soften their inevitable outcome (either you get killed, or your best friend does) with humor and warmth. And a good half of them actually swing. The chorus of "Stay True" bends the melody of Prince's anti-drug song "Pop Life" into a recitation of the code of the street, "gotta do what you gotta do"--a neat little irony that makes the rhythm that much sweeter. "Pour Out A Little Liquor" and "How Long Will They Mourn Me" are poignant, even spiritual--buddy songs played out amidst street warfare.
On his solo albums, 2PAC can be didactic, carefully laying out causes and effects as if he knows critics are staring over his shoulders. THUG LIFE is about causes and effects too. "Cradle To The Grave" is a 6-minute epic of what a bad environment can do for you. Yet on THUG LIFE, the group sounds freer to swing both its beats and its lyrics. Having your buddies around can help.