Still Working It

Pac's Life (Interscope Records)

By Kory Wilcoxson

With apologies to James Brown, 2pac Shakur is the hardest working dead man in show business. Demonstrating that a few bullets can't slow him down, 2Pac is now releasing, by my count, his 11th album since his death in September of 1996. Which begs the question: Who's living off the legacy?

Turns out it's 2Pac's mother, Afeni Shakur, a former member of the Black Panther Party who has started the 2Pac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which supports emerging artists. It's interesting to note 2Pac's death, as senseless as it was, is at least bearing fruit through his mom's efforts.

But is the music any good? Well, when you start with 2Pac, that's a solid foundation. You'd think we are getting to the bottom of the 2Pac barrel when it comes to quality, but the producers are able to work with rappers like Chamillionare and Ludacris to breathe life into 2Pac's always-engaging lyrics (most notable is the magic worked by Swiss Beatz on "Untouchable").

The material may be a bit thin - of the 13, tracks three are remixes of other songs on the album - but "Pac's Life" reminds us how much 2Pac's voice is missed in the rap game. It's obvious that all the guests on this CD are merely supporting playas.