You still can't talk hip-hop without at least occasionally talking Pac, but for reasons of fate or cosmic coincidence, it seems like there's been a spree of Pac related news lately. A powerful, previously buried MTV interview recently surfaced, we just learned from Angie Martinez that he wasn't going to settle for peace with Biggie and Bad Boy until he had his revenge, and now his close friend Greg Nice has revealed that he was working on a "One Nation" album that, as the name suggests, was all about unity. While it didn't involve anyone at Bad Boy, there was too much bad blood already spilled for that, he was talking to DJ Premier, Buckshot and had even reached out to Outkast for the project when he was killed.
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I'd heard whispers, snippets, of the almost mythical One Nation album before. Buckshot mentioned it briefly in a previous interview, some studio footage briefly emerged that's now been removed, there was that handwritten note where Pac wrote that he was aiming for a summer release of a, "...group album with me, Greg Nice, Buckshot, Smiff & Wesson, Outkast, The Outlawz, Scarface & E-40." But to the best of my knowledge, we've never heard such a complete accounting of the project from Greg Nice himself, the man who was fundamental in making it happen.
Pac's legacy, like the legacy of any hero that dies so young, is filled with "what if?"s. It's tempting to say that if he had lived and put out the One Nation album it would have changed everything, maybe he and Biggie would both still be alive, but who knows how events would have played out? Fatal events had been set in motion long before Pac and Nice began to seriously work on One Nation, but at the very least an album like that could have easily gone down as a hip-hop masterpiece.
Just when you think you've reached the limits of Tupac Shakur's legend, it continues...