November 18 2014
That’s The Way It is
Written by Tupac Shakur in 1992, the songs “Changes” dramatizes the conflict between African Americans and whites during the early part of the 90’s. By delivering a motivational speech through his song lyrics, Tupac is able to convey a powerful message of peace and equality for his people; he wants to see a change in African American society, not only from other races, but from the African Americans themselves. Tupac delivers the powerful line: “We gotta make a change. It's time for us as a people to start making some changes. Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we treat each other” in hopes to shed light on important social issues such as racism, equality, peace, and unity. To Tupac, this song was more than just lyrics written to a catchy beat, it was a product of his own thoughts on social issues; each lyric written served it’s own purpose. Through this, Tupac was able to incorporate relevant social truths and issues while still maintaining an intricate rhyme scheme. The song opens with the lyrics “I see no changes. Wake up in the morning and I ask myself, “Is life worth living?”.. I’m tired of being poor and even worse I’m black.” which illustrates how African American’s lived during the time of Tupac’s writing; they suffered from a life of poverty and weren’t given the same opportunities as white men and women were, so instead of trying to make a difference and change the situation, they would divert to illegal acts,
just to help themselves get by. In the song, he asks himself “Should I blast myself?” He’s trying to get the point across that just because of his color, he has to suffer, which was common for African American’s at the time.
Through his use of pronouns, “we” “you” and “I”, Tupac was able to minimize the gap between the audience and himself, creating a closer connection by making the listener feel more involved with the situation. Along with pronouns, he uses words such as “negros, racist, blacks” to bring attention to the social discrimination against the ‘blacks’ during that time. Tupac progresses with the line “Cops give a damn about a negro? Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he's a hero” illustrating how African Americans, mainly males, are more targeted by the police than white males; it wasn’t an issue for African American’s to be killed, it was more of a relief to get blacks, who were ‘dangerous’, off the streets. “Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares one less hungry mouth on the welfare” helps portray the use of drugs in the black neighborhoods in the 90’s and how the issue was ignored with beliefs that African American’s were a burden to the tax system because of their dependence on welfare from the government. “There's war on the streets and the war in the Middle East. Instead of war on poverty, they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me.” While still rhyming, Tupac is able to again express the racial discrimination of African American’s by the police. Tupac continues to try and inspire his people to join him against these issues: “‘It's time to fight back’ that's what Huey said. 2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead”, an ironic lyric because not only did this happen to Martin Luther King Jr, but also to Tupac himself, four years after the release of this song.
“I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere unless we share with each other. We gotta start makin' changes, learn to see me as a brother 'stead of two distant strangers.” Not only does Tupac point fingers at the whites but also at his own race, for the hatred between the two cultures; he realizes his people are also to blame because they also are more concerned with individuality than the unity. He continues to say “I see no changes” “I still see no changes” throughout the song. Finally, he concludes the song with the line “that’s the way it is, some things will never change” displaying his feeling of hopelessness for a better, equal future between African Americans and whites.