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Familiar? This is the original version , two years before 2pac‘s Picture Me Rollin‘.

Johnny J, a Mexican American multi-platinum songwriter, rapper and brilliant producer active from ’89 – ’08, known for his early career with Death Row Records and for his work with 2Pac for Me Against the World, All Eyez on Me as well as his posthumous albums. 2Pac and Johhny J hooked up on a serious tip in the studio which resulted in more than a hundred songs they recorded together. Better Off is from his debut and only album I Gotta Be Me, released on Shade Tree Records in ’94.

The beat for Better Off would later be recycled for 2Pac‘s Picture Me Rollin‘ on his 1996 album All Eyez On Me.

Johnny J co-wrote and helped produce 11 songs on All Eyez on Me and was never paid the $100,000 advance or the per song royalties of 3% he was supposed to receive. This financial dispute has led some to believe Death Row was somehow responsible for his death; preferring to have him killed (he apparently died by jumping from a tier in L.A. county jail) than to pay royalties which would number in the millions because of the commercial success of 2pac albums he helped produce.

Produced by Charlie Macc & Johnny J.

RIP Johnny J (August 28, 1969 – October 3, 2008)

johnny j

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