After doing the Bruce Hornsby song that this one sampled, it seems to have come full circle. In Tupac’s posthumous single featuring Talent (who ironically I couldn’t seem to find on google), he addresses everything from the war on drugs and police profiling to the war in the Middle East and the vicious cycle perpetrated by African-American culture itself.
With that context, it would have just been another socially conscious rap song about the impoverished conditions in inner city America. However, with the recent death of Tupac in Las Vegas, he became a martyr, and this song was the anthem for his cause. His death propelled his posthumous albums to a legendary status that can still be observed today, even ensuring that Changes reached the number one spot on the Norwegian Billboard charts. (Yes, that happened.)
Tupac’s influence despite his death has been noted everywhere from publications like The Rolling Stone to The Chapelle Show, and it’s obvious why that is when this song references a black president (specifically that the country wasn’t ready) and his own untimely death. Was Tupac truly the visionary that was ahead of his time, or was this a fluke? We will never know because due to his radical songs, feud with another rapper/gang, or shady record label producer, he was shot. He joined a long line of rappers whose lives ended far sooner than we could have anticipated. I want to listen to more 2Pac after this because I think I could grow to like a lot more of his music. The only part I didn’t like was Talent, and why didn’t they just keep Bruce’s vocals?