Loyal to the Game
Eminem so wanted to work on a posthumous 2Pac album that he personally wrote to Afeni Shakur and agreed to forego his usual salary. Em’s dedication and love for Pac is what separates Loyal to the Game from previous posthumous albums, which were overseen by Death Row CEO Suge Knight. Em brings to the project a fan’s respect as well as a rapper’s knowledge of how to maximize Pac’s old vocal tracks. On “Crooked N***a Too” he provides a slow, staccato beat to complement Pac’s rapid-fire verses. “The Uppercut,” “Out On Bail” and “N.I.G.G.A.” use beats that tune directly into the rhythm of Tupac’s rhymes and accomplish what every posthumous project has aimed for — to make Tupac’s presence felt, and not simply conjure his ghost. Eminem’s stealthy tracks give the album focus, but the last four tracks (overseen by guest producers) are comfort food for Pac fans. They offer the loose and soulful West Coast funk that was Pac’s signature during his lifetime. “Po N***a Blues,” with its buttery keyboards and cries from Ron Isley, is one of the most naturalistic Pac songs to appear since his death.