Vibe - pp.137-1383.5 discs out of 5
- "Arguably the strongest of 2Pac's posthumous LPs..."
Personnel: 2Pac (rap vocals); Ronald Isley, Sleepy Brown (vocals); Edi, Eminem, G-Unit, Jadakiss, Nate Dogg, Noble, Obie Trice, Big Syke (rap vocals).
Dozens of posthumous releases have been culled from 2Pac's archives, both by his mother, Afeni Shakur, and by more dubious sources. Eight years after the conflicted poet/thug's death comes Loyal to the Game, featuring more untapped rhymes. These recordings are the latest unearthed by Afeni Shakur, and while it might be easy to dismiss yet another new collection, two things work in this album's favor. The tapes were handed over to hip-hop icon Eminem, providing a completely unique angle on 2Pac's rhymes. More importantly, while these offerings are late in coming, that is not to say 2Pac's mother is desperately peddling the dregs of his output; the lyrics on Loyal to the Game are razor-sharp. Eminem's trademarked heavily syncopated sound provides an almost surreal sheen to the proceedings, and Em's voice graces the strong opening track, "Soldier Like Me (aka The Return of the Soulja)." The guests run the gamut from 2Pac contemporaries Nate Dogg and members of the fallen rapper's crew, the Outlawz, to relative newcomers Jadakiss and G-Unit, but all performances are solid and requisitely reverent to the memory of Tupac Shakur. Loyal to the Game simply combines strong remaining lyrics of a late master with newer ones, and stands as one of the best posthumous 2Pac releases.