1987-1991 - Benefits of Poverty / Strictly Representin'


Demo Tapes 1987-1991

The first act of the Tupac's career is usually known as "Same Song" in beginning of 1991 with the Bay Area group Digital Underground formed by Shock G, Money B, Chopmaster J, Dj Fuze...

Digital Underground had their first recording in 1987 called « Underwater Rimes » and they signed in on Tonny Boy Records in 1989. Tupac was then recording as Mc New York in a rap group called Stricly Dope with Ray Luv Tyson and produced by Chopmaster J. The last one eventually made Shock G listening to the tracks he produced for Strictly Dope and Shock G decided to invite Pac to tour with them. Pac firstly danced for them, backed them... The first album of the group, Sex Packets (Tommy Boy, 1990) was a huge success and the live tour was big and successful. Then Tupac dropped up his alias for a plain 2Pac (maybe first spelled 2-Pac). Shock G and Money B decided to record « Same Song » with him. They gave the song for the movie "Nothing But Trouble" in late 1990. "Same Song" marked the first time a verse recorded by Tupac was actually released. With the success of it, Pac probably presented to Interscope some demo tapes of his early work and started to record tracks for his first album.

Before 2Pacalypse Now (1991, Interscope), 2Pac was a member of various rap groups :
  • Two From The Crew (No songs of that time has been leaked yet)
  • Born Busy (1987-1988) with Ace Rocker and Dj Plain Terror (at this time, they were writing lyrics for Jada Pinkett).
  • One Nation Emcees (1988-1989) with Ryan D (who later will form the group 51.50 Illegally Insane). 
  • Strictly Dope (1989-1990), with Ray Luv & Chopmaster J (the last was also a Dj for Digital Underground). 

The only sessions that have been officially published are the closest to the Digital Underground/2Pacalypse Now sessions : Beginnings : The Lost Tapes (2007, Koch) with Strictly Dope (first available in 1997 by AIM as "1 in 21 : A Tupac Shakur Story" and then by ZYX as "The Lost Tapes" in 2000). According to Chopmaster J, these tracks have been long time lost. The last 2 mixes of "Static" are from late 1990-early 1991 and contain a sample of Shock G’s line taken from "Same Song" ("Tupac, go ahead and rock") which was originally spoken immediately before Tupac’s verse in that same song.
For the rest, there was a late project called "Early Years", but it seems to have been shelved, blocked by Amaru (if this has really ever existed). This project would have compiled a lot of tracks from these various times. Project – The Early Years. There was as well a project of remixing the acapella tapes of Born Busy called "Shakurspeare" (after the name of the famous dramatist that Pac enjoyed to play at the art school in New York - cf. this trailer song), but the project seems to have been shelved as well.
"Benefits of Poverty" and "Strictly Representin'" were two planned titles for his first album before finding "2Pacalypse Now". These are perfect titles for bootlegs who look like demo tapes gathering tracks Tupac made before signing, in order to give a good presentation of the artist's skills.


01. Panther Power [remix] feat. Ray Luv
02. Funky Freestyles feat. Money B, Del The Funky Homosapien & Debbie Deb
03. The Hell Raiser
04. Check It Out feat. Ace Rocker
05. All In The Daze Of A Criminal
06. That's My Man Throwing Down feat. Ace Rocker
07. Let Knowledge Drop [original] feat. Ray Luv
08. I Saw Your Girl feat. Ace Rocker
09. Fantasy feat. Ryan D
10. Tearz Of A Clown [version I]
11. Terrors On The Tables
12. Panther Power [original] feat. Ryan D
13. Never Be Beat [original] feat. Ryan D
14. Babies Having Babies feat. Ace Rocker
15. I Thought U Knew (U Don't Wanna Battle Freestyle) feat. Ryan D
16. Same Song [around the world mix] feat. Digital Underground
17. Freestyles feat. Ace Rocker


DETAILED TRACKLIST

01. Panther Power [remix] feat. Ray Luv / Chopmaster J & Dj Fuze
  • Strictly Dope sessions (1990). This is a re-recorded version with singing hook from an unknown woman and different verse from Ray Luv. This is then the third version of the song. The original version has been published in the Lost Tapes (2000/2007), and in 2003's Resurrection OST.
02. Funky Freestyles feat. Money B, Del The Funky Homosapien & Debbie Deb / Big D The Impossible
  • Raw Fusion sesssion (1990). The track was supposed to be included in 2Pacalypse Now but 2Pac re-uses some lines of the song for "Tha Lunatic". So the song couldn't be in the album. Maybe that's why he recorded "Breaking off something" over the same music. We then chose to put this second song in Tales from a 90's Nigga. and these "Funky Freestyles" for the pre-2Pacalypse bootleg.
03. The Hell Raiser / ?
  • Not to be merged with "Hell Razor" featuring Stretch from 1993.
04. Check It Out feat. Ace Rocker / Dj Plain Terror - [acapella]
  • Born Busy Sessions (1988). 
05. All In The Daze Of A Criminal / ?
  • Sounds like a One Nation Emcees Sessions from 1989. This track will be remixed probably in early '92 for the "Tales of 90's Nigga" or for "Troublesome 21".
06. That's My Man Throwing Down feat. Ace Rocker / Dj Plain Terror - [acapella]
  • Born Busy Sessions (1988).
07. Let Knowledge Drop [original] feat. Ray Luv (Strictly Dope) / Chopmaster J
08. I Saw Your Girl feat. Ace Rocker / Dj Plain Terror - [acapella]
  • Born Busy Sessions (1988). There is a good remix with a piano under the voice, but the song is uncomplete (without Ace Rocker's verse).
09. Fantasy feat. Ryan D / ?
  • One Nation Emcees Sessions (1989).
10. Tearz Of A Clown [version I] / Chopmaster J
  • Probably a Strictly Dope Sessions from 1990.
11. Terrors On The Tables / Dj Plain Terror - [acapella]
  • Born Busy Sessions (1988).
12. Panther Power [original] feat. Ryan D / ?
  • One Nation Emcees Sessions (1988). Tupac re-recorded this song with Strictly Dope.
13. Never Be Beat [original] feat. Ryan D / ?
  • One Nation Emcees Sessions (1988). Tupac re-recorded this song with Strictly Dope.
14. Babies Having Babies feat. Ace Rocker / Dj Plain Terror - [acapella]
  • Born Busy Sessions (1987). Tupac will re-used the thema of this track for his big hit "Brenda's got a baby" in 2Pacalypse Now in 1991.
15. I Thought U Knew (U Don't Wanna Battle Freestyle) feat. Ryan D / ?
  • One Nation Emcees Sessions (1988-1989). This is probably the first freestyle version of the song called "U Don't Wanna Battle". 
16. Same Song [around the world mix] feat. Digital Underground / Chopmaster J & Shock G
  • Strictly Dope Sessions (1990) / Same Song (12'') (1991, Tommy Boy). We could think that this is not a remix but the original version of the song that they made listen to the film director of Nothing But Trouble. Then Shock G re-recorded the song for the soundtrack.
17. Freestyles feat. Ace Rocker / Dj Plain Terror - [acapella]
  • Born Busy Sessions (1988).

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