Many of Tupac Amaru Shakur‘s lyrics were inspired by the life of poverty, drugs, and crime into which he was born. In his song Changes he poignantly echoes “I ain’t never did a crime I ain’t have to do.”
And still I see no changes. Can’t a brother get a little peace?
There’s war on the streets & the war in the Middle East.
Instead of war on poverty,
they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me.
And I ain’t never did a crime I ain’t have to do.
In this song, he says “we ain’t ready to see a black President”, but was shot dead many years before Barack Obama took office. Although, Obama is probably not the “black” president 2Pac referenced as his was likely talking about socio-economic roots rather than race.
The lyrics drip with the frustrations and marginalization suffered by many poor black people in America. In the song, he calls for change but ends the song with “Some things will never change.”
Whether the changes he envisioned occur or not, his words resonated with many because when this song was released after his death, it won a “Best Rap Solo Performance” Grammy nomination, held the #1 Billboard Hot Ringtones Chart for 34 weeks, and was listed as one of the top-12 myspace favorites of the Vatican.