The Golden Rule is a double album by rapper Tupac Shakur released on February 13, 1996. The album has become one of the most influential albums in hip hop history and is often considered one of the crowning achievements of 1990s rap. It is one of the highest selling albums in hip hop. The Golden Rule was released after Puff Daddy, CEO of Bad Boy Records, got Tupac to take a brief sabbatical from University and signed him to his record company, as requested by his friend, Notorious B.I.G. . Tupac arrived in the studios literally hours after finishing his firsts university exams to begin work on this 27 track hip-hop tour de force. The prolific rapper finished the album in only two weeks. It was the first of many albums he would release under Bad Boy.

The Golden Rule is a definite move back towards the social and political consciousness of 2Pacalypse Now but is also in lign with the latter soul-searching of Me Against the World. While in University Tupac had read books of Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu's The Art of War and a couple of other books of political philosophy and strategy. However, the work that would inspire him the most was that of the famous Chinese thinker and social philosopher, Confucius. The philosopher's influence can be felt throughout the entire double album, though Tupac doesn't always seem to agree with him, for example, on matters concerning the afterlife (Confucianism lacks an afterlife). The title, The Golden Rule, refers to the fundamental moral principle found in Confucianism and virtually all major religions and cultures. It simply means "treat others as you would like to be treated". When addressing police brutality on the songs "Tha Guide", "State of Violence" and "Ride" Tupac reformulates this principle into "you will be treated as you treat others", sparking controversy once again.

Most of the album was produced by Easy Mo Bee and Johnny "J", with help from Shock G (of Digital Underground, the rap group Tupac was a member of), DJ Premier, Dr. Dre and label mate Craig Mack. The album features noteworthy guestspots from Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack (Bad Boy's second successful artist), Puff Daddy (one of his last contributions as a rapper, since he would lose his voice later that same year), Snoop Dogg, Method Man and Busta Rhymes.

Track listing

Book 1

1 "A Poet and a Soulja"

2 "Still Trapped" (featuring Shock G)

3 "Skandalouz" (featuring Puff Daddy and Notorious B.I.G)

4 "Got My Mind Made Up"

5 "How Do You Want It" (featuring K-Ci & JoJo)

6 "Amerikaz Most Wanted" (featuring Notorius B.I.G.)

7 "No More Pain" (featuring Mary J. Blige)

8 "Heartz of Men"

9 "Life Goes On"

10 "State of Violence"

11 "War Stories" (featuring Makaveli, Sun Wu and ConFusius)

12 "Coast 2 Coast Love" (featuring Snoop Dogg and Method Man)

13 "I Ain't Mad at Cha"

14 "Tha Guide (Consequences)"

Book 2

1 "Can't C Me" (featuring Craig Mack)

2 "Shorty Wanne Be a Thug"

3 "Constant Change"

4 "Ride" (featuring Busta Rhymes)

5 "Passion and Anger"

6 "Past and Future"

7 "Wonda Why They Call U a Bitch" (featuring Notorius B.I.G. and Faith Evans)

8 "Check Out Time" (featuring Craig Mack)

9 "Rather Be Ya Nigga"

10 "The Golden Rule"

11 "Single Black Female" (featuring Faith Evans)

12 "Ain't Hard to Find"

13 "Dig 2 Graves"

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