The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
|The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory|
|Studio album by Makaveli|
|Released||November 5, 1996|
|Recorded||August 1–7, 1996|
|Studio||Can-Am Studios, Los Angeles, California|
|Singles from The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory|
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (commonly shortened to The 7 Day Theory or Makaveli) is the fifth and final studio album by American rapper Tupac Shakur. It was released on November 5, 1996, almost two months after his murder. Published under his new stage name Makaveli, on Death Row Records and Interscope Records, it was his first studio album to be posthumously released. The album was completely finished in a total of seven days during the first week of August 1996. These are the last songs Shakur recorded before his fatal shooting on September 7, 1996. The album was originally scheduled for release in March 1997, but as a result of his death, producer Suge Knight released it four months earlier.
The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 664,000 within its first week. By 1999, it was certified 4× platinum. The album was supported by three singles: "Toss It Up", "To Live & Die in L.A" and "Hail Mary" .
The album was completely finished in seven days during the first week of August 1996. The lyrics were written and recorded in only three days and mixing took an additional four days. These are the last songs Shakur recorded before his fatal shooting on September 7, 1996. The album's original title was "The 3 Day Theory", (originally consisted of around 14 tracks). E.D.I. Mean of The Outlawz & Ronald "Riskie" Brent revealed in an August 2014 interview that the official name of the album was mixed up upon release. Tupac wanted the album to be called; "Don Makaveli - Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory". Don Makaveli referenced as the artist name and Killuminati as the main title. Ronald "Riskie" Brent is the creator of The 7 Day Theory cover painting. The album cover, which features Shakur on the cross in an attempt to convey his crucifixion by the media, is intended to imply an artistic resurrection.
George "Papa G" Pryce, Former Head of Publicity for Death Row, claimed that "Makaveli which we did was a sort of tongue-in-cheek, and it was not ready to come out, [but] after Tupac was murdered, it did come out... Before that, it was going to be a sort of an underground."
Recording and production
Although many of Shakur's usual producers were not involved in the project, the producers still managed to come through for the project. The only producer with whom Shakur had worked prior to this album was QD3, the son of Quincy Jones and brother of Shakur's girlfriend Kidada Jones. Shakur also co-produces three tracks on the album. The other two producers were Hurt-M-Badd and Darryl “Big D” Harper. E.D.I. Mean of the Outlawz recalls: At the time Hurt-M-Badd, who was just an up-and-coming producer at Death Row, and Darryl Harper, who was an R&B producer - Suge had him working on all the R&B projects - they had a green room up in Can-Am [Studios] which everybody around Death Row called the "wack room" because they said "Ain't nothing but wack shit come out of there." But we was up in the studio one day and we trying to get music done - ain't none of us producers - we see them two niggas in the "Wack room" and 'Pac like, "Go get them niggas." So niggas go bring them, 'Pac just putting niggas to work like, "I need a beat here, I need y'all to do this, do that." And these are niggas that nobody at Death Row was fucking with. They'll tell you themselves.
The album was recorded at Can-Am Studios in Tarzana, Los Angeles, California in 7 days in the month of August 1996. During those seven days 21 songs were completed, 12 of which made the final product. The album did not feature the star-studded guest list that All Eyez on Me did. Most of the guest verses are supplied by Shakur's group The Outlawz. The only verse that was not from one of the Outlawz was from Bad Azz. Young Noble of the Outlawz recalled: We had started writing the shit and we was taking long. 'Pac was like, "Who got something? Bad Azz you got something?" and it fit perfect, so it was meant for Bad Azz to be on that song. We had already been on a million 'Pac songs. That was his way of motivating us like, "If y'all ain't ready, then you don't make the song."
While All Eyez on Me was considered by Shakur "a celebration of life", The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is a much darker album. Shakur's style of rapping is still emotional, but is intensified throughout this album. Some songs on the album contain both subtle and direct insults to Shakur's rivals at the height of the East Coast–West Coast feud. Rappers insulted on the album include The Notorious B.I.G., Junior M.A.F.I.A., Puff Daddy, De La Soul, Jay-Z, Mobb Deep, Nas and former Death Row label mate Dr. Dre, as well as New York based hip hop executives Jimmy "Henchman" Rosemond, Jacques "Haitian Jack" Agnant and Walter "King Tut" Johnson with accusations of being associates of Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records in orchestrating the 1994 Quad Studio assault.
Although Shakur insulted rapper Nas on "Intro/Bomb First (My Second Reply)" and "Against All Odds", rapper Young Noble, who appeared on several songs on The 7 Day Theory, stated in an interview that the Nas song "I Gave You Power" served as a main inspiration for Shakur's "Me and My Girlfriend". Shakur and Nas eventually squashed the beef at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards days before Shakur was murdered. They were scheduled to meet in Las Vegas, but they never got the chance. Death Row associate Kurt Kobane revealed in an interview in 2016 that Shakur was listening to Nas album It Was Written the day he got shot on September 7, 1996, on his way to Las Vegas.
The first two singles, "Toss It Up" and "To Live & Die in L.A" was released, September 26, 1996, just under 2 weeks after Shakur's death. After hearing No Diggity (which features Dr. Dre) for the first time, several of Dr. Dre's former Death Row colleagues, including Shakur, recorded and attempted to release "Toss It Up", containing numerous insults aimed at Dr. Dre and using a deliberately similar instrumental to "No Diggity", but were forced to replace the production after Blackstreet issued the label with a cease and desist order stopping them from distributing the song. "Toss It Up" music video features Shakur, Danny Boy, K-Ci & JoJo, Aaron Hall, and was directed by Lionel C. Martin. According to Death Row Records, it was the last music video Shakur filmed. The video also includes an appearance from actress LisaRaye McCoy. A unreleased version of the video was leaked some years later, known online as "Toss It Up Beach Version".
"To Live & Die in L.A, was produced by QDIII who was the only outside Death Row producer on the album besides Demetrius Shipp who did "Toss It Up". QDIII was one of Shakur's favorite producers. QDIII told XXL Magazine:
|“||I was in the studio with 'Pac, I had some records with me, and there was this old song that I played for him to see if he liked the vibe. He felt it and told me to go home and hook up a beat like that. I went home and hooked it up as fast as I could, and I think I came back the same night and he listened to the track three times, and in like 15 minutes he was already done with his lyrics. He went in the booth without telling anyone what the track was about he just laid it in one take--over about three tracks. Then he told Val Young what the concept was, and she went in and laid her chorus vocal in one take, too. After the vocals were done, 'Pac had Ricky Rouse [Makaveli musician] replace my keyboard bass and guitar parts with live bass and guitar parts, and the song was done--less than two hours total. This song just flowed out of everyone that was a part of it. No one thought twice no one doubted anything. It was full speed ahead until it was done--as if it was guided or meant to be. Ever since recording like that, without thinking twice like that, I have changed the way I look at making music.||”|
A music video for "To Live & Die in L.A" was shot. It features Shakur working at a fruit stand, driving around Los Angeles in a car filled with women, and also features various scenes and pictures of notable places and events in Los Angeles. It was the first video shot for the album.
|Los Angeles Times|||
AllMusic reviewer Thomas Erlewine gave the album 2.5 out of 5 stars saying, "Everything about The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory smacks of exploitation. Released only eight weeks after Tupac Shakur died from gunshot wounds, Death Row released this posthumous album under the name of Makaveli, a pseudonym derived from the Italian politician Niccolo Machiavelli, who faked his own death and reappeared seven days later to take revenge on his enemies. Naturally, the appearance of Don Killuminati so shortly after Tupac's death led many conspiracy theorists to surmise the rapper was still alive, but it was all part of a calculated marketing strategy by Death Row - the label needed something to sustain interest in the album, since the music here is so shoddy. All Eyez on Me proved that Tupac was continuing to grow as a musician and a human being, but Don Killuminati erases that image by concentrating on nothing but tired G-funk beats and back-biting East Coast/West Coast rivalries". Los Angeles Times critic Cheo Hodari Coker said, "while there are moments of power and poignancy in The Don Killuminati, it lacks the full ambition and range of Shakur's epic All Eyez on Me and Me Against the World packages. It's in those albums--and songs such as "Brenda's Got a Baby", "Lord Knows" and "Only God Can Judge Me"—that the legacy of this tortured, talented artist will be best found."
The emotion and anger showcased on the album has been admired by a large part of the hip-hop community, including other rappers. "There are a lot of 2Pac records I like," said 50 Cent, "but this is consistent all the way through. You could put this on and clean your whole house."
|BET||The 25 Best Posthumous Albums of All Time||2014||
|Complex||The 90 Best Rap Albums of the '90s'||
|MTV||Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time||2007||
|Vibe||51 Albums representing a Generation, a Sound and a Movement||2004||
|150 Albums That Define the Vibe Era (1992-2007)||2012||
|The Greatest 50 Albums Since 93||2014||
|WatchMojo.com||The 25 Best Posthumous Albums of All Time||
|* denotes an unranked list|
The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. The album generated the second-highest debut-week sales total of any album that year, selling 664,000 within its first week in stores. The album was certified 3x platinum in April 1997 and then 4x Platinum on June 15, 1999. As of 2013, the album had sold 5 million copies in the United States, which made it #24 on a list of highest selling hip-hop albums of all time.
- Credits adapted by album booklet.
|1.||"Bomb First (My Second Reply)" (featuring E.D.I. & Young Noble)||
|2.||"Hail Mary" (featuring The Outlawz & Prince Ital Joe)||Hurt-M-Badd||5:09|
|3.||"Toss It Up" (featuring Danny Boy, Aaron Hall, K-Ci & JoJo)||
|4.||"To Live & Die in L.A." (featuring Val Young)||QDIII||4:33|
|6.||"Life of an Outlaw" (featuring The Outlawz)||
|7.||"Just Like Daddy" (featuring The Outlawz)||
|8.||"Krazy" (featuring Bad Azz)||
||Darryl "Big D" Harper||5:15|
|9.||"White Man'z World" (featuring Big D)||
||Darryl "Big D" Harper||5:38|
|10.||"Me and My Girlfriend"||
|11.||"Hold Ya Head" (featuring Tyrone Wrice)||
|12.||"Against All Odds"||
- ^a signifies a co-producer
- "Toss It Up" features vocals by K-Ci and JoJo of Jodeci
- "White Man'z World" features uncredited vocals from Danny Boy
- "Blasphemy" features vocals by Prince Ital Joe & JMJ
- "Life Of An Outlaw" features vocals by Bo-Roc
- "Me And My Girlfriend" features vocals by Virginya Slim
- Bomb First (My Second Reply)
- "Da Funk" performed by Daft Punk
- "Uptown Anthem" performed by Naughty by Nature
- "More Peas" performed by Fred Wesley and The J.B.'s
- "Ambitionz Az a Ridah" performed by 2Pac
- Toss It Up
- To Live & Die In L.A
- Just Like Daddy
- "Impeach the President" performed by The Honey Drippers.
- White Man'z World
- Hold Ya Head
- "One Love" performed by Whodini
- "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" performed by Patti Austin and James Ingram
- 2Pac, Makaveli – primary artist, producer, executive producer
- Suge Knight, Simon – executive producer
- Tommy D. Daugherty – chief engineer, mixer, additional production
- Steve Anarden – engineer
- Ronald "Riskie" Brent – paintings
- Danny Boy – featured artist
- Yaki Kadafi – featured artist
- Kastro – featured artist
- E.D.I. – featured artist
- Scott Gutierrez – associate engineer
- Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey – featured artist
- Joel "JoJo" Hailey – featured artist
- Aaron Hall – featured artist
- Darryl Harper – producer
- Hurt-M-Badd – producer
- Justin Isham – digital editing
- Reggie Moore – producer
- John Morris – associate engineer
- Outlawz – featured artist
- Lance Pierre – associate engineer
- Demetrius Shipp – mixing, producer
- Guy Snider – engineer, track engineer
- Troy Staton – mixing, producer, unknown contributor role
- Don "Dubb" Smartt – associate engineer, unknown contributor role
- Tyrone Wrice – featured artist
- Young Noble – featured artist
- Val Young – featured artist
|Australian Albums Chart||37|
|Deutsche Alternative Charts||5|
|Dutch Albums Chart||61|
|New Zealand Albums Chart||17|
|Swedish Albums Chart||28|
|UK Albums Chart||53|
|UK R&B Album charts||9|
|US Billboard 200||1|
|US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums||1|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||4× Platinum||4,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- List of number-one albums of 1996 (U.S.)
- List of number-one R&B albums of 1996 (U.S.)
- List of number-one R&B albums of 1997 (U.S.)
- XXL Magazine, October 2003 issue
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- XXL Magazine, October 2003 issue, Page 111
- XXL Magazine, October 2003 issue, Page 118
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- XXL Magazine, October 2006 issue
- Blender, April 2003
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- "Just Like Daddy by Makaveli". WhoSampled. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
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