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February is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.
Today we will be honoring Tupac’s “Changes.”
“Changes” was a hip hop song by Tupac Shakur. 2Pac was always known for his lyrics, which were very conscious of the social environment. In particular he focused on the environment around the black community and the problem that still existed in society.
The song “Changes” makes many references to the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary socialist organization who made efforts for change in the black community during the Civil Rights movement. The song and 2Pac had a connection in that they were both important in the Black Nationalist movement. Specifically, the song references the founder of the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton, stating “two shots in the dark, now Huey’s dead.”
The song also contains some foreshadowing when it references a black President. The song contains the line, “we ain’t ready” providing a reference point for the country to strive for. This was a revolutionary song reference for 2Pac to make and allowed for a benchmark for us as a society.
In this song 2Pac reuses lyrics from other influential songs such as “I Wonder if Heaven Got a Ghetto.” It also re-used lines from certain unreleased songs, which he planned to release but his death came before he could. For this reason Tupac and specifically the song “Changes” very influential in the African American community.