When Death Row releasedÂ 2Pac’s Greatest Hits,Â the double-disc contained four previously unheard records; one of those being “Changes.” Â It quickly became one of the most notable and popular records of his career. Â Pac discusses a bunch of issues that were related to his era of influence in the game; including racism, poverty, police brutality, and gangs. Â Being released posthumously, it’s almost as if he was looking back, and addressing those issues that showed little progress or change during his lifetime. Reasons like this make “Changes” one of the greatest hip hop records of all time (yea I said it). Â Before the third verse, Pac takes 8 bars off from rapping to lend a few spoken words, getting right to the point of his message.
It’s time for us as a people to start making some changes. Â Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way live, and let’s change the way we treat each other. Â See the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do what we gotta do…. to survive.”
The foundation of this classic record is built on the music of another classic record, “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and The Range. Â Beyond just a musical backdrop, the sample is also a song that addresses the civil rights movement, and the disparity between rich and poor in America. Â The lyrics to “The Way It Is” suggest that some things will never change if we don’t take active steps on our own to facilitate change itself. Â The piano was replayed for the 2Pac version, giving the producer more flexibility in arrangement. With a keyboard lead, strings, and layers of male and female vocal riffs, the beat was ready. Â They kept the tempo pretty much the same as the Hornsby version, which was very up-tempo as far as rap records went in that time period. Â After 2Pac did his part, the end result was a record of legendary status, and a social commentary that will remain relevant for generations to come.