1 in 21 compiles 2Pac's early recordings as a member of Strictly Dope in 1990, as well as numerous versions of the song "Static," which was a 1991 collaboration with Force One Network. These songs have been anthologized on numerous bootlegs and semi-bootleg collections over the years, and none are really that enlightening or impressive. In fact, they're a bit underwhelming, even for the most ardent 2Pac fans. It wasn't until 2Pac began working with Digital Underground that he really blossomed as a rapper. Here he's still in primitive form. And it doesn't help that these songs sound pretty bad, characterized by rudimentary production quality. The Strictly Dope songs from 1990 -- "Panther Power," "Never Be Beat," "Case of the Misplace Mic," and "My Burnin' Heart" -- also feature Ray Tyson, the other member of the short-lived duo. Most will be startled at how good-natured and straight-edged 2Pac sounds on these tracks. You would never assume that he'd be sporting a "thug life" tattoo a few years later and running around with the shady Death Row camp. The 1991 collaboration with Force One Network, "Static," is more impressive, though it's still not worth going out of your way to track down. It's featured here in numerous versions, including an "Extended Club Mix" that approaches ten minutes in length. These numerous remixes help make 1 and 21 seem like more of a collection than it really is. When you take away all the superfluous remixes, what this collection essentially boils down to is five songs -- not much, particularly when they're this unimpressive. Sure, these songs shed light on 2Pac's earliest years as a rapper, but they're much more interesting than enjoyable -- a novelty and not much more. A tiny footnote at best.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier