Friday, January 26, 2018


This evening for music night at The Wild Reed I share "Changes," a hip hop song by 2Pac featuring Talent.

2pac was the stage name of Tupac Shakur (1971-1996), an American rapper, poet and actor. Shakur is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with over 75 million records sold worldwide.

About "Changes" Kent Umeki writes: "This song clarifies the problems in our world and what we can do to fix them while at the same time displaying Tupac’s rap and poetic skills. In 'Changes' Tupac sings about what it’s like to live life being poor. He also sings about war, poverty, racism, corrupt police, drugs, and prison." Umeki also suggests that through Tupac's "Changes" we're given an opportunity to ponder and perhaps even understand the grief that so many people experience throughout the world.

Writing in Atwood Magazine, Sydney Sweeney contends that "Changes" is "one of hip-hop’s most successful political statements, not because it’s especially radical in its words on police brutality, drugs and gang violence, but because the track was, from music to lyrics, accessible to those who needed it – people unconcerned with the politics challenged by unapologetic MCs [microphone controllers]."

"Changes" was originally recorded during Shakur's tenure at Interscope Records in 1992 and was produced by Big D The Impossible (Deon Evans). It was later remixed during 1997-1998. The song re-uses lines from "I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto" which was recorded during the same year. The song samples the 1986 hit "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range, with the chorus re-sung by Talent.

I dedicate my sharing of 2pac's "Changes" to a friend who started treatment for chemical dependency today. This friend, who finds the music of Tupac Shakur very meaningful, is very much on my mind and heart this evening. I pray that he may know many positive changes in his life from this day forward.

Notes Wikipedia:

Released posthumously on his album Greatest Hits, "Changes" talks about all of the different issues that were related to Tupac's era of influence – notably racism, police brutality, drugs and gang violence. The "Huey" that 2Pac mentions in the song ("two shots in the dark, now Huey's dead") is Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party. The song refers to the possibility of a black president of the United States, claiming "we ain't ready". Further, the last verse of the song refers to Tupac's premonition about being shot to death, mimicking the sound of the gun with the phrase "rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat."

The song was the #1 hit in Norway and the Netherlands and reached the top ten in the singles charts of several other countries, including #3 in the United Kingdom, which gained Tupac a broader audience. The Chris Hafner-directed music video is a compilation of a number of previous music videos Tupac released in addition to home videos and never-before-seen pictures, similar to the format of The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Dead Wrong", also released in 1999.

"Changes" was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards of 2000 and remains the only posthumous song to be nominated in this category. It was also nominated at the MTV Video Music Award for Best Editing in a Video & Best Rap Video in 1999.

Related Off-site Links:
8 Ways Tupac Shakur Changed the World – Mosi Reeves (Rolling Stone, September 13, 2016).
How Tupac’s "Changes" Could’ve Altered His Whole Career – Beware Bowden (Uproxx, September 13, 2016).
Tupac Shakur's Most Socially Conscious Lyrics: 10 Times He Was at His Most Woke – Matthew Ismael Ruiz (Billboard, November 11, 2016).
7 Tupac Songs That Still Resonate With Black America Today – Brennan Williams (The Huffington Post, June 16, 2015).
The Truth Behind Tupac Shakur's 1996 Murder: "It Was Simple Retaliation," Reveals an LAPD Source – Jordan Runtagh (People, September 13, 2017).
A Film About Tupac Shakur Has Divided Audiences in AmericaBBC News (June 19, 2017).
Chi Modu’s Best Photograph: Tupac Shakur Lets His Guard DownThe Guardian (May 10, 2017).

Previous featured artists at The Wild Reed:
Dusty Springfield | David Bowie | Kate Bush | Maxwell | Buffy Sainte-Marie | Prince | Frank Ocean | Maria Callas | Loreena McKennitt | Rosanne Cash | Petula Clark | Wendy Matthews | Darren Hayes | Jenny Morris | Gil Scott-Heron | Shirley Bassey | Rufus Wainwright | Kiki Dee | Suede | Marianne Faithfull | Dionne Warwick | Sam Sparro | Wanda Jackson | Engelbert Humperdinck | Pink Floyd | The Church | Enrique Iglesias | Yvonne Elliman | Lenny Kravitz | Helen Reddy | Stephen Gately | Judith Durham | Nat King Cole | Emmylou Harris | Bobbie Gentry | Russell Elliot | BØRNS | Hozier | Enigma | Moby (featuring the Banks Brothers) | Cat Stevens | Chrissy Amphlett | Jon Stevens | Nada Surf | Tom Goss (featuring Matt Alber) | Autoheart | Scissor Sisters | Mavis Staples | Claude Chalhoub | Cass Elliot | Duffy | The Cruel Sea | Wall of Voodoo | Loretta Lynn and Jack White | Foo Fighters | 1927 | Kate Ceberano | Tee Set | Joan Baez | Wet, Wet, Wet | Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy | Fleetwood Mac | Jane Clifton | Australian Crawl | Pet Shop Boys | Marty Rhone | Josef Salvat | Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri | Aquilo | The Breeders | Tony Enos

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