Behind the Lyrics

Every soundscape is comprised of its own explicit set of ambient sounds. These keynote sounds have helped shape various forms of music each with their own distinct qualities and messages. Hip-hop is no exception. Since its origin, hip-hop music has been used as a form of expression around the world, serving as a microphone to the voices of the marginalized masses. From the block parties in New York, to the streets of Bolivia, hip-hop has been used as a major form of expression. Now people are no longer just hearing a good bass and catchy tune, but are also listening to the lyrical stories behind the music. Artists of all subgenres in hip-hop are coming to the forefront and telling their unique stories of the hardships and struggles that accompany their race, class, and upbringing. These stories intricately intertwined with smooth lyrics and popular instrumentals make the hip-hop soundscape truly memorable.

Tupac’s song “Changes” hones in on his struggles with everyday life. He focuses on tribulations such as poverty, drug addiction, racism, and growing up as an African American. This is a prime example of how artists have used hip-hop as a method of expressing themselves through lyrics and music. Shakur’s song embodies the hardships of his everyday life and allows listeners to relate to his situation making this one of the most memorable songs of his time.

Tupac Changes

4 thoughts on “Behind the Lyrics

  1. Are people just now listening to the lyrics for particular reasons? Have their been certain technological developments or cultural changes that caused this to occur? In fact, what do you think it is about our culture that makes us focus on words? I have heard people say that this obsession with words stems from our human need for meaning, but others say it’s because we are simple-minded. I’m interested to see your further thoughts on the development of lyrical culture and where it stands now.

  2. Are you also studying the cultural history behind rap/hip-hop? I am thinking of what Alan Lomax uncovered about the roots of some of the southern folk music and how that may be interesting to uncover in regards to rap.

  3. This song also exemplifies the remix culture of hip hop with the sampling used. The lyrics are real and rapped with passion. With the sections of spoken word emphasizing the message as a whole. Its a great track.

  4. How are the stories of hardship using hip hop different from the stories of hardship told using other genres of music?

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