From folk music, to the protest sounds of the 1960's, lyrics have mirrored times of political and public turmoil. Most of this music starts as poems, from the songwriter's check out the webpage. The poetry is a representation of an individual's view and life experience. A kind of poetry that specializes in social issues is rap. According to the Handbook of Poetic Conditions, by Ron Padgett, "Raps are usually reports about life in the internal city-street life, hard times, drugs, or personal relationships-and often take an instructional shade, peppered with ultra-contemporary slang" (Padgett 146) Tupac Shakur is an artist that incorporated many of these aspects into his music. His track "Changes" reflects some areas of traditional poetry, yet its modern speech cries out for societal change. The song covers issues of background, inner-city assault, racism, drugs, and poverty. Shakur uses poetic devices such as alliteration, assonance, allusion, onomatopoeia, and repetition to show problems in dark America. While drawing on the poetic elements of tempo, rhyme and wordplay; his track "Changes" draw on his personal encounters and sets the dual theme for change and level of resistance to change, in an underclass society of people who are affected by interpersonal injustice and hopelessness.
In order to understand the music of Tupac Shakur, it is important to look at some track record about the artist himself. Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in New York, 1971 to Afeni Shakur. During her motherhood, she was imprisoned because of her connection with the African american Panther Party. In Tayannah McQuillar and Fred Johnson's Tupac Shakur, Shakur talks about growing up with Afeni stating, "The word 'black ability' was "such as a lullaby while i was a youngster" (39). After a short while in New York, Shakur's family changed to Baltimore, Maryland in 1984. Corresponding to Tupac: Resurrection, "Baltimore gets the highest rate of teen pregnancy, the highest rate of Assists within the dark-colored community, the best rate of teen suicide, and the best rate of blacks eliminating blacks. . which is where we thought we would live" (34). During this time period, Afeni directed Tupac to the Baltimore Institution for the Arts, where he excelled in classes and established a groundwork for his creativity (45). Despite the fact that Tupac loved institution, he hated being poor. On that he states, "Growing up in America -I adored my youth but I hated growing up poor, and it made me very bitter. We stay in hell. We are in the gutter, a battle zone" (54). After spending four years in Baltimore, the family moved again, this time to Oakland, California in 1988. In Oakland, Tupac started hanging out with drug sellers, pimps and criminals because he sensed nearer to them than he thought to his own father. His own mother became dependent on crack cocaine, and he tried out for a time to sell drugs to generate profits. Ironically, the same medicine traders that he was getting together with convinced him that the medication game wasn't for him; plus they encouraged him to check out his dreams of becoming a copy writer and rapper. He state governments:
That's what I'm going to do as an musician, as a rapper. I'm gonna show the most visual details of what I see in my own community and maybe they'll stop it quick. I've seenthe split babies, what we had to go through, getting rid of everything, being poor, and getting defeat downbeing the person I am, I said no no no no no. I'm changing this. (70).
Tupac used his dreams and joined a group called "The Digital Underground. " The group had some run-ins with the authorities, and Tupac was sent to prison where he was beaten by the officials. He claimed that he previously no prior police force record before making a record, and he called the marks he obtained in jail "scars I will go to my grave with. All of this is learn-to-be-a-nigga marks" (80). Despite this event, Tupac was successful enough to go to Hollywood in 1992. Here, he became an actor in videos like Drink, Poetic Justice, and Above the Rim. It had been also during this time period that Tupac created a code to live on by called "Thug Life" Thug life is a representation of the underdog in world, but "doesn't have anything regarding the dictionary meaning of a thug" (122). "Thug Life" brought on a whole lot of politics controversy. As a result, police force blamed Tupac for leading a road revolution which induced assault in the rap world. Tupac experienced many tracks and tribulation anticipated to his fame. He was accused of rape, shot five times, and lastly landed in jail in 1995. It had been in prison where Tupac discovered that people are a product with their environment; he states, "My inspiration was eliminated because I used to be a caged animal. " (156). In prison, he wrote poetry, letters, and even a screen play that in creation and you will be released in 2011. However, he only wrote one melody in prison. After prison, he agreed upon with Loss of life Row Documents. In 1996, Tupac Shakur was shot and wiped out in NEVADA. Unfortunately, no person has ever found his killer. In comparison to Elvis Presley, some individuals assume that Tupac Shakur is still alive. Even though some of his music called for change, a lot of his music enjoyed a component in establishing rivals in the east and western shoreline rap game. Many assume that the music of east and western world coast rappers caused the deaths of Tupac Shakur and rival rapper Notorious B. I. G. Despite what some individuals say about Tupac and the mysteries adjoining his death, it is easy to see his life and battles within his poetic rap lyrics.
One way that Shakur lives on is through his music, poetry and movies. "Changes" is a superb exemplory case of this, since it premiered after Shakur passed on. The first verse pieces the dual theme for the entire tune, change and amount of resistance to improve. "Changes" was released in 1996 and is a rap remake of Bruce Hornsby's music "That's Just the Way it is" which was written in 1986. Hornsby's song is about problems with the welfare system and civil rights issues. Although Tupac changes the lyrics, he retains the term "that's just just how it is" within the chorus. Both music question the separation of the low class from the rest of population. Both offer multiple reasons, but Shakur blames this parting on the federal government and the composition of the school system all together. He shows the dire point out of poor dark America, sometimes considered the lower or underclass by the course system and the mass media. This parting or "underclass" of population developed because slavery and the aftermath of the Civil Protection under the law movement. Urban young ones realize that there are still black regions of town, black night clubs and black institutions. The problem is that most of this "underclass" contains minorities, not white people. Furthermore, television, movies and even some music all portrays "young thugs" that are ignorant, ruthless and uncaring. Tupac wanted to make people aware that if indeed they unite, they can make a change jointly. However, he also came to the realization that this wish is very unrealistic at exactly the same time. Despite the fact that things are changing, we should ask if things are changing for the better. In the end, the social, financial and educational obstacles between your underclass and mainstream world need to be broken before a better understanding is achieved.
This "underclass" contemporary society is affected a world of poverty, racism, unbalanced prisons, drugs, and discovered helplessness. When kids increase up thinking they are really area of the "underclass, " hopelessness results. Images of weapons, gang-banging, and immorality cause children to increase up convinced that they may have limited options. The first stanza feedback upon this hopeless sense and asks a robust question: I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself/Is life worthwhile living should I blast myself?" The verse remains with "I'm sick and tired of bein' poor and even worse I'm dark-colored/My abdominal hurts so I'm lookin' for a handbag to snatch" which really is a touch upon poverty and cravings for food in our inner towns. Shakur is letting his viewers know that the underclass is suffering so very bad from cravings for food and poverty, that sometimes resorting to crime is the only way to survive. He even questions if life is truly worth moving into the ghetto. He continues on to comment about how cops treat the underclass saying:
Cops give a damn about a Negro
Pull the trigger kill a nigga he's a hero
Give the split to the youngsters who the hell cares
One less eager oral cavity on the welfare
First ship 'em dope and let 'em package the brothers
Give 'em guns step back watch 'em destroy each other
Shakur is implying that cops are corrupt and even deliver in drugs to the avenues for people to deal. As a result of drugs and money, people wrap up killing one another. Sort of an urban innovative figure, Tupac advised a different type of life. He previously a code that he resided by called "Thug Life, " which was like a streets constitution. Shakur was known for his conspiracy theories against the federal government and his views about law enforcement were probably heavily affected by his mom. Because of this, Tupac grew up learning and witnessing the monetary oppression of dark people by the government. He wanted to operate and combat for a new way of living, and ways to fight back from the oppressor. That is presented throughout the next type of the melody: "It's time to fight that's what Huey said/two shots at night now Huey's dead. " Huey Newton was the founder of the North american Black Panther Party. He is an example of a black man that attempted to take a stand for what he believed in, but ended up getting shot doing it. This establishes irony in the poem since it is totally possible that Tupac died because of his own innovative way of thinking.
In the second verse, Tupac reminds us that even though he sought the world to change, it won't. Using assonance to describe racism, Tupac proceeds: "I see no changes all I see is racist faces/Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races" However the song is about change, Shakur realizes that no change will ever be produced unless people unite and stop hating each other. However, this is merely a fantasy, since racism and hatred will usually exist. The reason why it'll always are present is the unbalanced public class system. Areas of the unjust communal system permeate express prisons. Shakur touches upon this using alliteration to get his point across: "It ain't a top secret don't conceal the truth/The penitentiary's loaded, and it's filled up with blacks. " It is problematic that we now have more dark-colored people in prison than there are whites. Lois Tyson state governments in Critical Theory Today:
the misconception presented by many white People in america a disproportionate variety of African People in america are criminals, in other words, that criminality is an African American traitIt can take only five grams of split cocaine (used predominately by dark Us citizens) to induce a five-year obligatory prison sentence. However, it takes 500 grams of natural powder cocaine (used predominately by white People in america) to result in that same five-year compulsory prison phrase. Discriminatory laws and regulations like these draw focus on the use of drugs in poor dark-colored neighborhoods, a situation that has resulted in increased police security in these areas, while medicine use within white neighborhoods is largely ignored. In fact, in the United States nearly all medication users (of all types) are white. Yet, the majority of prisoners are dark-colored (368).
Drugs are a problem in inner metropolitan areas since it provides corruptible teenagers with a way to make easy money. In addition, society cannot solely blame the parents because plenty of kids learn the dope game from their friends even though they were always educated the "stay static in school" talk at home. Corresponding to Adam Bradley's Booklet of Rhymes, "Hip hop surfaced out of metropolitan poverty to be one of the most vital cultural makes of days gone by centuryin defiance of second-rate educational opportunities and poor real estate standards, a era of young people-mostly dark-colored and brown-conceived innovation in tempo, rhyme, and wordplay" (Bradley xiv). Tupac is constantly on the illustrate this irritation in "Changes" saying:
But some things will never change
Try showing another way but you stayin' in the dope game
Now notify me what's a mom to do
Bein' real don't appeal to the sibling in you
You gotta operate the simple way
"I made a G today" But you made it in a sleazy way
Sellin crack to the youngsters. "I gotta receives a commission, "
Well hey, that is the way it is
Shakur used internal rhyme to place emphasis on his words. The usage of "today" and "way" related to the point that some young kids would rather be paid to by a crew than get a 9-5 job. With limited opportunities credited to too little education, kids feel like selling drugs is an easier way to live life. Furthermore, due to the environment that some of these kids expand up in, some sell drugs because they have no other choice. Stealing, advertising drugs or getting rid of to feed yourself or your family becomes a necessity in a "kill or be killed" world. Inside the refrain right before the last verse, Tupac expresses:
It's time for use as a people to start out makin some changes,
Let's change just how we eat, let's change the way we live
And let's change just how we treat each other
You said the old way wasn't working so it's on us to do
What we gotta do, to survive
The repetition of the saying "I still see no changes" starts off the last verse of the tune. Shakur uses the poetic device of allusion to compare the problems in the pub to the turmoil in the Middle East in the 1990's. What's interesting is the fact that both the Middle Eastern issues and internal city issues have only worsened since that time. Shakur mentions war in this verse: "it has the war on the avenues and the warfare in the Middle East/Instead of warfare on poverty they acquired a war on drugs/So the police can take the time me. " He proceeds with the protest theme stating:
And I aint never did a crime I ain't have to do
But now i am back with the reality givin it back again to you
Don't let em jack you up, again you up,
Crack you up and pimp smack you up
This is relative to Shakur's life in working with the police. Because he grew up knowing about the inequality from the 1960's and the civil protection under the law movement, Shakur believed like the conflict on drugs was a warfare against poor people. This issue remains today. Robert Lee asserts in his text message Multicultural American Books, "The years since the 1960's take the ongoing accusation of city ghetto, drugs, gang culture, and a dark prison people as disproportionate as was dark-colored frontline soldiery in Vietnam. Black color rural poverty, in Mississippi as in all of those other Deep South remains reality. Rankles persist over discrimination" (69). Issues like this are not echoes of the past; they are still rampant inside our contemporary society. Drugs and assault is accessible in the black inner-city more nowadays than ever before. When urban youngsters realize that they segregated in these interpersonal and judicial systems, it generates learned helplessness. Discovered helplessness breeds a reoccurring pattern of laziness, reliance over a welfare system, and lowered determination. Although drugs are a significant issue in world, they'll never disappear completely. Shakur uses repetition with what "battle, " and "backside" throughout his songs. The last part of the song remains the most powerful. It also provides the music with an ironic twist of fate:
And as long as I stay dark I gotta stay strapped
And I never get to lay back
Cause I usually got to fret bout the pay backs
Some punk which i roughed up each one of these years
Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat that's the way it is
Rivals gunned down Tupac Shakur several time in his life. However, the last shot killed him. Authorities never found the murderer, and it just may have been someone he fought with long ago. Shakur uses onomatopoeia checking the "Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat" sound in the last line of the tune to a firearm. Ironically, suppliers released this melody after Tupac's fatality. It seems like a posthumous communication for today's inner city children. This song demands change, but realizes that change may never be made. However, it is hard to deny that the track is powerful and it resembles protest tunes with an metropolitan twist, except instead of Vietnam, the warfare and change that Shakur talks of is right here on the interior city roadways of American culture. The white man handles most of almost all and discovered helplessness is something of that. Segregation still is accessible in our marketing, our prisons, and our interpersonal environments
Strand and Boland point out within the Making of any Poem that wide open forms "give a momentary, poignant shelter to both former and future: that both tension at the bonds of the customs and conventions of ancient form and yet, paradoxically, renew them by participating them so completely" (260). Tupac Shakur's "Changes" is a music that reflects the social problems of the past and of today; it echoes traditional poetic forms in a few conventions- but gives a contemporary tone of voice. Bradley asserts in Booklet of Rhymes that:
Rather than resembling the dominant modern-day form of free verse-or even the freeform composition of its hip-hop cousin, spoken word, or slam poetry, rap bears a more powerful affinity for some of poetry's oldest varieties, including the strong stress meter of Beowulf and the ballad stanzas of the bardic past. Just as metrical verse, the measures of rap's lines are governed by established rhythms-in rap's case, the rhythm and the beat itself" (xv).
The build that begs for change in his lyrics is one of duality. Similarly, many people know that they have to unite to avoid problems associated with drugs and assault in their community. On the other hand, some individuals choose a life of medication coping and easy money and misuse the welfare system because they have no other ideas in a culture that doesn't provide them with motivation to change. Shakur runs on the volume of poetic devices such as assonance, alliteration, allusion, onomatopoeia, and repetition to disclose his various designs. His use of couplets and rhyme plan (aabbccddeeffgghi) play a parallel part in keeping to the rhythm of his song. Although meter varies throughout the music, the way he enunciates his words and his pitch amounts out his tempo. This is better to listen to than read, what can be emphasized in a song may also be hard to highlight in some recoverable format. Another aspect of the songs that cannot be read, and can only just be heard is the melodic voices that resemble a cathedral choir in the refrain. His tone of voice throughout the songs is pleading, yet leaves a feeling a hopelessness that things will never change. The theme of change, the annals of public injustice, drugs and assault in the inner cities are subjects that indicate Shakur's personal activities. Tupac Shakur is a real human "open form" because even posthumously, people are realizing that both his rap and poetry ". is a continuum, and not a done product" (260). Using rap as a form of poetry was a way for Tupac Shakur to implore to the people in troubled urban areas to wake up and see the tragic reality surrounding them.