Tupac’s All Eyez On Me vs. Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle. Which Is Better?

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One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as determined by hundreds of thousands of voters. Now, “Finding The GOAT” returns to ask a new question: what is the greatest of all time Hip-Hop album?

“Finding The GOAT Album” will consider 120 albums from three individual eras (40 in each), with options for wild card and write-in candidates. You and your vote will decide which album goes forward, and which one leaves the conversation. While there will no doubt be conversation between family and friends (virtual and real), only votes cast in the voting tool below will be counted, so use the power of your click.

Released just over two years apart from one another, Tupac Shakur’s All Eyez On Me and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle showed the range, and the 1990s reign that was Death Row Records. ‘Pac’s sprawling double-disc stands out in his catalog because it features many of the players that made Snoop’s Doggystyle so satisfying. These men, who collaborated on All Eyez, dropped brilliantly distinct in-the-moment narratives on each work. ‘Pac was at the zenith of his career, both soaring and exploding in his 600 Benz pressurized cabin. Snoop was the corner-boy-turned-superstar that was enjoying the fruits of the fame, while trying not to make a deal with the devil. Take either of these albums out of the universe, and 1990s Hip-Hop is forever different. Unfortunately, that is a decision that Heads face as Round 2 of the 1990s “Finding The GOAT Album” rages onward. Only one of these multi-platinum Death Row gems can survive. So which work gets the pardon? (click one then click “vote”)

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All Eyez On Me by 2Pac

– First Round Winner (against Digital Underground’s Sex Packets, 76% to 24%)

Upon exiting Clinton Correctional Facility, Tupac Amaru Shakur got in a chartered Death Row Records plane, and in his mind, knew he was about to hijack the Rap industry. In the commercial boom of Rap, ‘Pac’s well-heeled peers were locking themselves in major studios, hiring a la carte star producers, and carefully coiffing for classics. For the tattooed ex-con, all he needed was 14 days, a plethora of Hennessy, Newports, loose-leaf, and an onslaught of beats to make the diamond-certified All Eyez On Me. A man of great excess, ‘Pac ballooned a double-album that basked in its own grandeur. From Funk icons to a sprawling wish-list of his peers, Shakur made a cathartic album following a year of introspection, angst, glory, and vitriol. It’s rushed, overflowing, and in many ways disjointed, but All Eyez On Me was a ride-along for the wildest trip any Rap star could steer—and the listener was able to ride shotgun.

Of the 27 included tracks, “All Eyez On Me” may be the greatest summation of ‘Pac’s early ’96 worldview. Perceived as a victim, Shakur had returned, guns-loaded, with a menacing posse of Outlawz, Death Row “inmates,” and California soldiers at his side. He was basking in the love, but spitting at all who trespassed against his pride. “Holla At Me” and the stellar DJ Quik production “Heartz Of Men” maintained this attitude too, with ‘Pac’s use of cadence stronger than on any other album. However, as convicted and sincere as the Thug Life alum was, All Eyez was his chance to drink, smoke, and party. “California Love,” “All About U” and “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” were ‘Pac reveling in the moment. In between the endless stream of bars, even in the booming singles, the artist so many had trusted with their hearts dropped jewels. “I’m losin’ my religion” he nearly danced over on the Snoop Dogg super-collabo. On “Picture Me Rollin’,” he prayed, “Mama, I’m still thugging, the world is a war zone / My homies is inmates, and most of them dead wrong.” Even though he was busy counting money, assassinating characters, and spitting on Dr. Dre club tracks, ‘Pac was everything he’d grown to be in the first half of the decade. In a decadent setting, he pushed boundaries on an album. “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” and “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find” were pure pageantry, as ‘Pac also met his quota of radio-aimed hits (“California Love” and “How Do You Want It”) to win over swing-voters in Rap’s cross-coastal rivalry. All Eyez On Me, lyrically, is unrestrained Tupac, and scattered brilliance therein. The man battling foes, label-mates, and presumably himself made a raw, in-the-moment release, and did it beautifully enough to make it last 20 years. Had it been edited to one glorious disc, All Eyez tickles masterpiece status. But even in its disjointedness, flaws, and whimsicality, no one wants to lose a single word from Rap’s Thug Poet Laureate.

Album Number: 4 (solo)
Released: February 13, 1996
Label: Death Row/Interscope Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #1 (certified gold, April 1996; certified platinum, April 1996; certified diamond, July 2014)
Song Guests: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Roger Troutman, Redman, Method Man, Rappin’ 4-Tay, Tha Dogg Pound (Daz Dillinger & Kurupt), K-Ci & JoJo, Tha Outlawz (Khadafi, Big Syke, Hussein Fatal, Napoleon, & Storm), C-Bo, Richie Rich, Danny Boy, E-40, D-Shot, B-Legit, CPO The Boss Hogg, Michel’le, Nate Dogg, Jewell, DJ Quik, Dorothy Coleman, Puff Johnson, Natasha Walker, Danette Williams, Barbara Wilson, Nanci Fletcher, Stacey Smalley, Carl “Butch” Small, Sean “Barney” Thomas, Jojo The Elf, Ebony
Song Producers: (self), Johnny J, Dr. Dre, Daz Dillinger, DJ Quik, DJ Pooh, QDIII, Devanté Swing, Doug Rasheed, Bobby “Bobcat” Ervin, Rick Rock, Mike Mosley, Harold “Scrap” Freddie

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Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg

– First Round Winner (against Main Source’s Breaking Atoms, 71% to 29%)

Snoop Doggy Dogg received the ultimate set-up to his debut. Leading up to the brilliantly titled Doggystyle, Calvin Broadus lit Dr. Dre’s Chronic album on fire with his effortless flow, smooth demeanor, and street-certified perspectives. Dre would return the favor, with his second and last fully-helmed artist album while at Death Row Records. The Gangsta Party raged on, with Snoop making a full-on introduction through songs like “Who Am I?,” “Doggy Dogg World,” and night-in-the-life anthem, “Gin & Juice.” Although he was officially the biggest Rap star in the world, Snoop’s debut plays like a low key ride-along for a smooth talkin’, cat-chasin’, indo-smokin’ B.G. from the Eastside of Long Beach. Not since Smooth B and Dana Dane had an MC sounded so laid back, and at the same time lyrical. While Ice Cube, Scarface, and Kool G Rap seemingly took themselves seriously, Snoop Dogg was less-in-your-face, both with his narrative and showcasing his skills. Tracks like “Pump Pump,” “Tha Shiznit,” and “Gz and Hustlaz” feel like freestyles, held together with air-tight flows, and the kind of production that shattered loops and minimalist instrumentals. Snoop played with Dre, the same way a guitarist and drummer did. The two made each other better, and each treated his part with pride, swagger, and the constant drive to be original.

Like The Chronic, Doggystyle had a strong supporting cast. Both on the mic and behind the boards, Snoop and Dre had lots of help. Dre and Death Row had manufactured their own band, making samples bend to all-out interpolations, and creating an arguably more cohesive, thematic experience than ’92’s jump-off. Like Wu-Tang Clan’s nine-man squad across the country, acts like Kurupt, The Lady Of Rage, Dat Nigga Daz, RBX, and Warren G were all clawing to be the next ball out of Tha Row’s cannon, treating their role-playing as if their careers depended on it. All of this pressure, pride, and amicable tension yielded an eruptive explosion. As Dre compressed the drums and samples for East Coast radio waves on “Pump Pump,” Snoop covered an eight-year-old Slick Rick classic, for his locale. The album closed the gap between the coasts sonically, as Snoop proved to be a product of Too Short and Rakim, equally. Moreover, at a time when Eazy-E was angrily calling for “Real Muthaphukkin G’z” in Rap again, Snoop’s life and “Murder Was The Case” were all too parallel. As Snoop rapped his own LBC spin on Goethe’s Faust, he soon found himself on trial for self-defense manslaughter. The lines between Rap and reality were narrow, and the low-lid MC in the blue flannel button-up seemingly was still in the soup. Doggystyle succeeded in jockeying for position within the industry, and Snoop Dogg became the decade’s first new, proven solo Rap superstar. Not since LL Cool J had an MC had the streets, the sales, and the Hip-Hop Heads all in deep belief.

Album Number: 1
Released: November 23, 1993
Label: Death Row/Interscope Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #1 (certified gold, January 1994; certified platinum, January 1994; certified 4x platinum, May 1994)
Song Guests: Dr. Dre, Tha Dogg Pound (Daz Dillinger & Kurupt), RBX, Nate Dogg, Warren G, Sam Sneed, Tha Lady Of Rage, The Dramatics, Nanci Fletcher, Ulrich Wild
Song Producers: Dr. Dre, Emmanuel Dean, Daz Dillinger (uncredited), Sam Sneed (uncredited)

So which album belongs in the 1990s Top 10? Make sure you vote above.

Related: Ambrosia For Heads’ Finding The GOAT: The Albums