The Best of 2Pac, Pt. 1: Thug

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The separately packaged two-part Best of 2Pac series released in 2007 absolutely pales in comparison to the double-disc Greatest Hits collection previously released in 1998. Whereas that first collection had been fairly definitive, featuring 25 songs from the late rapper's prime, including all the key hits as well as the non-album favorite "Hit 'Em Up," The Best of 2Pac features four fewer songs, and of the 21 songs spread across two packages (less than an hour of music per disc), about a quarter are posthumous productions or remixes. For every classic like "California Love," there's a latter-day remix such as the newly produced version of "Dear Mama" on the Thug release or the "previously unreleased" song "Dopefiend's Diner" on the Life release. This posthumous material may be worthy of release, but a "best-of" collection sure isn't the place for it, especially one as skimpy as this, where the two separately packaged Thug/Life CDs could easily be combined into one single-disc collection if the latter-day productions and remixes were cut. Truth be told, The Best of 2Pac is yet another in a long line of posthumous cash-ins apparently overseen by 2Pac's mother. With the well-compiled Greatest Hits double disc still on the market, there's no need for a lesser collection such as this (though a single-disc definitive best-of collection would have been welcome). The Best of 2Pac is simply more product to stock at your local big-box retailer (two separately sold products, in this case), and it's no wonder that, like many of its posthumous predecessors, it was released during the holiday shopping season. Clearly, 2Pac has become a cash cow for those who control his catalog; too bad the product being milked annually is almost without exception of poor quality and appears to be hastily or indifferently assembled.

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