2Pac

Until the End of Time

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

The fourth album released in the wake of 2Pac's 1996 death, Until the End of Time certainly offers plenty of music, two discs' worth to be precise, yet doesn't offer too many highlights besides the chilling title track. As with many of 2Pac's posthumous recordings, the songs here seem overdone, too often dressed up with layers upon layers of production, choruses of background vocals, and a seemingly endless parade of guests. All of this over-production obscures 2Pac's performances, which somehow remain remarkable no matter how deep into the vault Afeni Shakur and Suge Knight have dug. Songs like "Letter 2 My Unborn," "When Thugz Cry," and the title track are just as heartfelt as "Keep Ya Head Up," "Dear Mama," and "I Ain't Mad at Cha" had been, but unfortunately they're marred by radio-oriented production that's too glossy for such stark, literate lyrics. The title track is somewhat of an exception, though. It's one of 2Pac's most desperate, spirited performances ever -- the voice of a man face to face with his own fate -- and it's accompanied by an anxious yet lulling interpolation of Mr. Mister's 1985 pop hit "Broken Wings" that is far more affective than you'd imagine. Note, however, that there are two versions here of the title track (the best one being the original one, which features RL on the hook), as there are also two versions of a few other songs. These nearly interchangeable remixes function as little more than filler, particularly since the production throughout Until the End of Time is rarely noteworthy. What at first seems like an epic recording, offering 19 tracks in total, consequently seems as overdone as the production. Had this album been pared down to the length of a single disc, it could be an exhilarating listen; as it stands, though, Until the End of Time is a mishmash -- too short on standouts like the title track and too loaded with dressed-up, guest-laden over-production -- that you'll find yourself fast-forwarding through far more often than you'd prefer.

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