By Paul Russell
11/29/2002 6:31:01 PM
Tags and topics realted to this article include 2Pac.
This is an extract about the dead who are still bringing out CDS from JSonline.com
The creative worth and authenticity of most releases from deceased artists is less clear-cut, however.
Tupac Shakur released only four albums before a drive-by shooting took his life in 1996 at age 25. Since his death, however, there have been more than a dozen albums, double discs and boxed sets, including "Better Dayz," released Tuesday, plus ghostly "guest appearances" on a number of albums from newer rappers, such as current buzz boy Ja Rule.
"I get the sense individual raps were completed but not tied to specific tracks, so you could create faux duets that have no real context or interaction between the artists," Erlewine said.
"You have Tupac turning up on a Ja Rule album, but we have no idea if Tupac would have wanted to be on a Ja Rule album."
Similarly, some of the rapper's posthumous solo albums are poorly organized, cliche-driven outtakes that do little justice to Shakur's impressive songwriting talents - and which he may never have intended for release.
"It seems to me to be a little bit of grave-robbing," Erlewine said. "He was a singular talent, but it feels weird to hear him on a song that's something he himself never heard."
The legitimacy of the recordings hasn't stopped fans from lining up to purchase Shakur's posthumous releases. In 2001 alone, Shakur sold more than 2.7 million albums - an estimated $7 million for his estate - a feat from beyond the grave that earned him the No. 10 spot on Forbes' Top-Earning Dead Celebrities.
Shakur has a way to go before eclipsing the top-selling dead entertainer - Elvis earned $37 million for his estate just in 2001. But the rapper still enjoys an unshakable fan loyalty.
Jerry Thompson, owner of Flipside Records and Tapes, 3716 W. North Ave., said he had more than 100 pre-orders alone for "Better Dayz."
"There's only one Tupac. If Tupac was alive today, he'd be at No. 1 and a lot of the current rap artists wouldn't sell," Thompson said.
"Tupac sold for me," Thompson added. "I hate that he's dead."
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