1994 - Honor Among Thugz, The Soundtrack (with Thug Life)

from left to righ : Big Syke, Mopreme, 2Pac, Macadoshis, Rated R.

pictures from Mike Miller for Thug Life vol. 1 (1994)

Lot of the songs here have been out on bootlegs whose name was "Thug Life 2" or "Thug Life Demo". But, all these songs are just leftover tracks from the "Thug Life Volume 1", recorded around the same time, in late 1993 and beginning of 1994, in replacement of the "Out on Bail Demo", refused by Interscope. Because most of the new tracks released were also refused by Interscope, 2Pac hoped to publish a second volume of Thug Life or a compilation of leftover tracks (after N-Y shooting, and after the incarceration of 2Pac, the project falls down, 2Pac even gave up the idea of "Thug Life". But when he went out of jail, he and Big Syke were again working on a full new Thug Life volume 2 album called "Outlaw Immortalz : Thug Life Volume 2".

Like you can see in this handwritten paper, the first project of Thug Life by 2Pac was a Movie + Soundtrack in order to illustrate the concept of "Thug Life" : Thug Life volume 1, Honor Among Thugz. Could it be a real movie ? A short movie and some clips from Thug Life's singles ? We can notice that Stretch's Live Squad had the same kind of project (that has known an uncomplete release as Game of Survival OST, in 2001, with a short musical movie shot in 1992 easy to find on the web). Maybe 2Pac and him decided to do the same kind of thing with Thug Life. Even the pictures by Mike Miller could give the same idea of a movie behind this collective project.

So the tracks we gathered in this Honor Among Thugz album were recorded in the end of 93 and in 94. Some of them, especially the 2Pac's solo tracks (like "Out On Bail", "Life's So Hard"...) have been either in the tracklists of his solo album, but like "Stay True" 2Pac could use them for the Thug Life album.

1. Ready For Whatever feat. Big Syke
2. Out On Bail [version II]
3. Brothers In The Pen [clip] feat. Mouse Man
4. Anotha Jack (by Thug Life)
5. God Bless The Dead feat. Stretch
6. I’m Losin’ It feat. Big Syke & Spice 1
7. Fake Ass Bitches
8. High 'Til I Die [reggae version] feat. Rated R, Macadoshis & Don Jagwarr
9. Thug Bitch (by Big Syke & Yanni)
10. Where Do We Go From Here (Interlude)
11. The Heat feat. Stretch, Keith Murray & Waterbed Kev
12. Hennessey feat. Big Syke & Mopreme
13. The Uppercut feat. Yesz (Y.N.V)
14. Out The Gutta (by Thug Life)
15. Real Bad Boys feat. Dee Tha Mad Bitch (Bo$$) & Daddy Marco
16. Thug Life [version II] feat. Big Syke & Prince Ital Joe
17. It Hurts The Most feat. Stretch & Mopreme
18. Hold On Be Strong


01. Ready For Whatever feat. Big Syke / Johnny J
  • published in R U Still Down (1997, Amaru).
02. Out On Bail [alternate mix] feat. AB / LG
  • Recorded in 93, new mix from 94. Remixed in Loyal To The Game (2004).
03. Brothas In The Pen (Demo Interlude) / Truman Jefferson

  • Unfortunately, this is just an excerpt of a radio-friendly version of "Niggaz in the Pen" from Out on Bail. Maybe 2Pac planned to do it as a single for the Thug Life album (He often re-recorded a soft lyrics version of his songs for the radio like he did with "How Long will they mour me" or "Pour Out A Little Liquor", later for "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" among others...). Here, 2Pac gives a whole new verse !
04. Anotha Jack (by Thug Life) / ?
  • You can hear the song "I get around" in the background at the end.
05. God Bless The Dead feat. Stretch / 2Pac
  • Released in Greatest Hits (1998, Death Row). This is a tribute to Biggie Smalls aka Big Dric, a close friend of Stretch, from New-York, who died at this time (nothing to do with Biggy Smallz, young rapper from Los Angeles, produced by Johnny J). Christopher Wallace, when he makes his first records under the name of "Biggie Smalls", had risks of being sued by the young Biggy Smallz (who has published some 12'' under this alias since 91). Probably 2Pac and Stretch gave him a second reason to drop off his pseudonym for a more original "The Notorious B.I.G.".
06. I’m Losin’ It feat. Big Syke & Spice 1 / Tony Pizarro (?)
    • Remixed in R U Still Down (1997, Amaru).
    07. Fake Ass Bitches feat. Rated R / Johnny J
    • Remixed in R U Still Down (1997, Amaru).U can hear it in the "Thug 4 Life" tour. Pac has written and recorded this song as a model for Yanni, female rapper close to Big Syke and eventually supposed to be part of Thug Life. That’s why there is also a Yanni version. Maybe Yanni wrote the text and Pac show her how to she could rap it. But it is commonly known that he was sometimes writing and offering songs to friends ("Po’ Nigga Blues" for The Govenor ; It's ain't Living" for Snoop ; "Unconditional Love" for MC Hammer...).
    08. High 'Til I Die [reggae version] feat. Rated R, Macadoshis &  Don Jagwarr / Johnny J
    • It seems to be a real new mix of the 93 track from Out on Bail for Thug Life vol. 1. You can hear Don Jagwarr - who had invited 2Pac on his album Faded (1994) - singing in a regga style "High 'til I die...".
    09. Thug Bitch (by Big Syke & Yanni) / ?
    • Big Syke introducing the female rapper Yanni. 2Pac has also written "Fake Ass Bitches" for giving her.
    10. Where Do We Go From Here (Interlude) feat. Y?N-Vee / Tony Pizarro
    • published in R U Still Down (1997, Amaru).
    11. The Heat feat. Stretch, Keith Murray & Waterbed Kev / Ron G
    • 11/30/94. Released without major changes in Ron G's The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (1997, Tape Kingz). It is known at the last track 2Pac recorded in the New-York studio hours before being robbed and shot down the building. This track is dominated by a long long verse of Keith Murray from the Hit Squad. Waterbed Kev was the main rapper of the Fantastic Five, old school rap group from Dj Grand Wizard Theodore. Ron G re-used 2Pac's verse for the track "Deadly Combination" on the Big L's posthumous album Big Picture (2000, Rawkus)
    12. Hennessey feat. Big Syke & Mopreme / Live Squad
    • It’s written "(?)" on Live Squad website but we know it couldn’t have been done after the N-Y shooting and 2Pac sounds older than on Thug Life. Maybe it could be one of the last tracks he recorded with Stretch before the shooting. This could explain why there are only such unfinished versions - especially a capella. In the original we have, we can only hear badly a verse from Big Syke and not the one of Mopreme. The Red Spyda og vibe version - using the same sample - is for now the only decent version with both Big Syke & Mopreme verses. 
    • Sample : D'Angelo - Shit, Damn, Motherfucker (produced by Bob Power, recorded in late 1994)
    13. The Upercut feat. Yesz (Y?N-Vee) / Stretch
    • Remixed in Loyal to the Game (2004, Amaru). It’s written date (?) on the Live Squad website. The name of the female rapper has been difficult to find for a long time. People talking about Yanni (Thug Life) and Sister Soulja (close to Public Enemy). Y?N-Vee started to work with Johnny J and Thug Life in 93.
    14. Out The Gutta (by Thug Life) / ?
    • It’s the name of the sub-label where has been published Thug Life volume 1 and Me Against The World.
    15. Mind of a Bad Boy (Real Bad Boys) feat. Dee Tha Mad Bitch (Bo$$) & Daddy Marco (?) (chorus) / Assassin & Dobbs The Wino
    • Probably recorded in summer 94 for Bad Boys OST (1995, Columbia). However 2Pac prefered to promote his upcoming album and gave the song "Me Against The World" to the Soundtrack. This is the second connexion between 2Pac & Bo$$ after "Judgement Day" in Thug Life’s Out on Bail (1993). Released in Assassin's Hitworks vol. 1 (1996, Liferdef Records). Assassin also made a remix of that song as a Bad Boy diss song (with the anthem "Bad Boys can stop Thug Life"), available in the compilations 3 Beam Circus (1998, Swerve), or in the unofficial The Here After (1999, ZYX).
    • The hook is a remake of Inner Circle's "Bad Boys" by an unknown ragga artist who freestyles at the end of the song (that could be a Daddy Marc or the known Daddy Marcus).
    16. Thug Life [version II] feat. Big Syke & Prince Ital Joe / Johnny J
    • Mix with a touch of singing soul at the beginning and during the song.
    17. It Hurts The Most feat. Stretch & Mopreme / Stretch
    • Recorded beginning 1994 (written 1994 on Live-squad.com). It could be on Americaz Crucify.
    • Samples: Skull Snaps – It’s A New Day; 2Pac – The Streetz R Deathrow
    18. Hold On Be Strong [remix] feat. Stretch (backs) / ?
    • Original from 93 released in R U Still Down (1997, Amaru).
    • Samples: Earth, Wind & Fire – I’ll Write A Song For You

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