On this day in music history: February 13, 1996 – “All Eyez On Me”, the fourth album by 2Pac is released. Produced by DJ Quik, Dat Nigga Daz, DeVanté, DJ Pooh, Dr. Dre, Lawlay, Bobby “Bobcat” Ervin, Johnny “J”, Mike Mosley, Doug Rasheed, Rick Rock, QD3 and 2Pac, it is recorded at Can-Am Recorders in Tarzana, CA in October 1995. Prior to the release of his previous album “Me Against The World”, Tupac Shakur is arrested and incarcerated at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, after a woman accuses the rapper and his entourage of sexual assault. Unable to post the $1.4 million necessary for bail, Tupac spends the next eight months in prison beginning in February of 1995. On October 12, 1995, Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight and Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine posts Shakur’s bail in exchange recording three albums for the label. Now a free man, Tupac quickly enters the studio to begin recording. Working a host of top hip hop producers including Dr. Dre, Daz from The Dogg Pound, DJ Quik and Johnny “J”, the rapper demonstrates an astonishing work ethic, completing as many as two to three songs a day. The first album under Tupac’s contract with Death Row (though counting as two of the three albums under Shakur’s contract) is finished in just few short weeks. The twenty-seven track double CD titled “All Eyez On Me” also features guest appearances by Snoop Dogg, The Outlawz, Nate Dogg, K-Ci and Jo Jo Hailey of Jodeci, E-40, B-Legit, D-Shot, C-Bo and Richie Rich. The album is proceeded by the single “California Love” (#1 R&B, #1 Rap, #6 Pop) which features Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman of Zapp. It spins off a total of four singles including “How You Want It” (#1 R&B, #1 Rap, #1 Pop), “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” (#46 R&B) and “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” (#18 R&B Airplay, #58 Pop Airplay). Enthusiastically received by fans and critics, “All Eyez” goes on to become 2Pac’s best selling album.
The album is originally released as part of a one off distribution agreement with Island Records, when Death Row’s parent label Interscope is extricating themselves from their alliance with Atlantic Records. It is also the last album released by the legendary rapper in his life time, coming only seven months before he is shot and dies from injuries sustained in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas, NV on September 7, 1996. “All Eyez On Me” enters the Billboard R&B album chart and Top 200 at number one, spending three weeks at the top of the R&B album chart, two weeks at the top of the Top 200, and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.