2Pac: Bitter, Remorseless, Brilliant : * * * 1/2, 2PAC "All Eyez on Me," Death Row/Interscope

Despite indicating the contrary in interviews last year, 2Pac's thugging days--on record at least--are far from over.

"All Eyez on Me," a 27-song, 133-minute gangster's paradise, finds the rapper even more venomous than he was before his 11-month incarceration for sexual abuse. He displays no remorse for his tough life, and even less feeling for his enemies. The only thing jail time did for 2Pac was make his creative fires burn even hotter--he raps here with a passion and skill matched in gangsta rap only by Snoop Doggy Dogg and the Notorious B.I.G. And with such producers as DJ Pooh, DJ Quik, Dr. Dre and Johnny J laying down the tracks, he finally has a musical team worthy of his talent.

The first disc is all big money, flashy women and chilled champagne. It's yet another lyrical gangster movie, but you don't mind more variations on the same theme from an artist of this caliber.

The second disc is decent, but pales next to the first, which contains possibly the best song 2Pac has ever recorded, the easygoing ditty "I Ain't Mad at Ya." In this letter to a homeboy who has left the thug life, the rapper is addressing the person he could have become. 2Pac will have a long career if he can document this side of himself even further.

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