Historians and cultural critics trace the post-modernist hip hop movement which pioneered sampling and graffiti art to the sass’s, New York, a movement rooted in the black nationalism of the black panthers post civil rights movement (Price, 2006). Hip Hop has become a dominant global youth culture with music, art, fashion, films and Outpace an Icon within this culture a “Black Elvis”. Hip Hop has many different sub genres such as conscious, gangs, party rap and with emcees in the different genres according to their subject matter.
The paper will explore Changes a conscious rap Eng that was recorded by Outpace in 1 992, at a time when African Americans were affected by the beating of Rodney King by Police Officers, which led to the Los Angels Riots of 1992 (Johnson, 2009). The environment was politically charged and conducive for a song chronicling that moment in history. What is interesting is that the song was posthumously released in 1998 on Tuba’s Greatest Hits album, two years after Outpace died of gunshots wounds on the 13th of September 1996 (Scott, 1997).
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Outpace Shaker’s music Is characterized by hard hitting hip hop beats sampled room different music genres and lyrics that criticize, the capitalist system that divides America into the haves and have-not’s. The collective identity in Tuba’s music is identified In the struggle of the lower classes to find political, economic, social discourse In a capitalist society by chronicling from the perspective of a young black male growing up in post civil rights America.
His work vocalizes the thoughts of the masses trapped within a modern slavery system (poverty and discrimination). The writers credited on the album sleeve are Shaker, T. , Evans, D. , & Horns, B. ; Changes ample the beat and part of the chorus from Bruce Harmony’s ” The way It is”(1986) and appropriated It Into a Hip Hop political anthem. This part of the paper will delve into the psyche of the artist and explore the lyrics of Changes. ANALYZING OUTPACE “When did I ever say I was a gangs rapper? Is Frank Sinatra a gangs singer?
Is Steve Seal a gangs actor? What is that? That’s such a limited term. Maroon Brandon is not a gangs actor, he’s an actor. Axle Rose and them are not gangs rock and rollers, thieve rock and rollers. So I’m a rapper, this is what I do. I’m an artist. And I AP about the oppressed taking back their place. I rap about fighting back. To me, my lyrics and my verses are about struggling and overcoming, you know’ (Shaker, 2003) Left: OPAC. 1996. All Eyes On Me (outpace. Com) Right: OPAC. 1995. Me against the World (outpace. Mom) Outpace Shaker’s controversial image drowned his work; the media at the time concentrated on what he did off record and forget that he was a brilliant rapper, lyricist and actor. He did cultivate the gangster image with “Thug Life” tattered across his abdomen and his persona as seen on the album cover of “All eyes on me” (1996) Is that of a gangs, The persona Is evident on him with the words “Outlaw” tattered on his lower arm, a panther’s head on his upper arm with a miscreant intensity and 1 OFF on music videos, further reiterates that he is a gangs rapper.
However on the cover of an earlier album “Me against the world”(1995) another side of the rapper is seen, with his back against a wall, he stares at the camera like a deer caught between two headlights. In interviews and talk shows when he takes off his mask, an intelligent, misunderstood, creative young man who wants to change the world with his music merges. Tyson (2002) in his explanation of Tuba’s dual persona mentioned something very interesting that Tuba’s mother Affine was impregnated by one of two possible candidates, a revolutionary black panther by the name of Billy Garland and Legs a drug dealer.
On the song Dear Mama he writes ” They say I’m wrong and I’m heartless, but all along I was looking for a father he was gone” (1995) these lyrics give the assumption that he might have looked for a father within himself and thus created twin personae founded on the character of the two people he thought could e his father. Outpace created binary oppositions as creative mechanisms, the socially constructive poet vs.. The destructive street thug and he could write as well as speak from both alter egos.
His conscious rapper ego tackled social issues such as racism, violence, drug abuse whilst his gangster rapper ego talked about selling drugs, perpetrating violence and called women derogatory names. To understand Just a little part of Tuba’s complex character, the following quotation by Carl Jung would give some insight. “Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in myself, and if he only learns to deal with his own Shadow he has done something real for the world.
He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day. These problems are mostly so difficult because they are poisoned by mutual projections. How can anyone see straight when he does not even see himself and the darkness he unconsciously carries with him into all dealings? ” Nouns, 1938). The two images of Outpace show that instead of hiding his other self (the shadow) he consciously projected it and White toes (1997) that a misguided Outpace drew his masculine principles from “Legs” his father figure.
Outpace Shaker was born on the 16th of June 1971; a month after his mother Affine Shaker was released from prison for her suspected part in the alleged Black Panther plot to bomb banks and department stores (White, 1997). In several songs and interviews Outpace has mentioned his birth and childhood as a miracle. “l was born not to make it, but I did” (Still I Rise, 1999) and on the last verse of Mama Just a Little Girl (Better Days, 2002) he philosophies ” You see you wouldn’t ask why the rose hat grew from the concrete had damaged petals, on the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity.
We would all love its will to reach the sun. Well we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals” He uses symbolic words to compare himself and his peers to that of beauty natured in an unnatural environment. This verse is a self reflective analysis of his impoverished childhood in socially depraved ghettos of America and by noting ” We are the roses” he feels that any child that grows up in that environment and makes it however damaged they are should be celebrated.
According to Goals (2007) in 1985 Outpace was enrolled at the prestigious Baltimore Schools of the Arts, where he learned how to act and he spent Outpace went through moral Juggling as a teenager, selling Drugs whilst writing poetry. His childhood experiences gave him the canon to be able to articulate social and political commentary easily identifiable with his audience. Tyson emphasis (2003) that Outpace believed in “keeping it real” a slang term defined on (revolutionary. Com) as ” try to benefit the environment and society that surrounds you and eventually serving humanity for the greater good”.
Outpace has achieved musical immortality with eight albums produced posthumously, an art center (task. Org) producing the next generation of thespians, dancers and poets and a Biopic on his life is currently in Production, written by Oscar nominated screenwriters Stephen J Revile and Chris Wilkinson (All, Nixon). In a recent Manage. Com article Revile had this to say about Outpace “He was a really sensitive, very romantic talented young poet who also could sing, dance and act, but the realities [of the hip-hop record business] were that he had to create this persona of the gangster….
He saw the contradiction between the musical persona of ‘Thug Life’ and his essential nature as a gentle, sensitive person. And that was partly responsible for his murder. He was not a gangster, but the people around him were, and they saw he was going to leave, that they were going to lose him, and so I think they decided to kill him”(Borders-Manner, 2011) CHANGES Changes portrays America from a critical non violent point of view, the view of a young black male living in the projects (Ghetto) committing crime as a survival necessity, whilst been abused by the system.
Changes (Shaker, Evans &Hornsby, 998) uses basic slang, repetition, melodic rhythm, the artist does not use profanity, the word Niger is used to make a racial statement not intimidate. Analysis of this song elicits reaction in the listener, a desire to become the Change that Outpace requires of his audience. Tuba’s ability to elicit this type of reaction can be attributed to the authority yet passionate sensitivity of his voice and the flow of his rap.
The chorus uses the same melody as “The Way it is” with a slight change of chorus whereas the original says, “Some things will never change”, Changes is changed to say, Things will never be the same”. Elaborating that inequality will always be rooted in American society; the chorus is repeated to drum the message. The opening line to Changes “l see no changes” seems to be a modern reply to the original “The way it is” Bob Dylan ” The times they are changing”(1964), which is considered the civil rights movement theme song.
He then continues to show his frustration with his situation, which has not been changed by the ” I have a dream” speech by DRP King Wake up in the morning and ask myself is life worth living should I blast myself, I am tired of en poor and even worse I’m black, my stomach hurts so I am looking for purse to snatch”, he’s telling his audience that he is poor, black, hungry and faced with two choices either to kill himself or alleviate his economical situation by stealing. Cops give a damn about a negro, pull the trigger kill a Amiga he’s a hero” He uses the ‘N’ words to emphasize how racist the police are and the reward for killing a black person. “Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares, one less hungry mouth on watch me kill each other” He paints an image of a big brother conspiracy of shipping rugs and guns into the Ghetto and then watching the fabric of black America dismantle with kids on crack, drug dealers killing each other, a genocidal way of easing the welfare system. It’s time to fight back that’s what Hue Said, 2 shots in the dark now Hue’s dead” By mentioning Hue Newton founder of the Black Panthers, he acknowledges that Black militant mantra of fighting back the system with guns is wrong because you will be slain by a gun. Outpace then finds a socialist solution in how to beat the system and unify “We can never go nowhere unless we share with each there, We goat start making changes, learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangers, that’s how it is supposed to be.
How can the Devil take a brother if he’s close to me, I’d love to go back to when we played as kids, but things changed, and that’s the way it is” He wants to go back to the innocents of childhood, not complicated by what Freud regards as the ID, however Outpace is resigned to the fact that even if he goes back to that moment, he cannot change Today because change will never happen. L see no changes all I see is racist faces, misplaced hate makes grace to races, We under, I wonder what it takes to make this one better place, let’s erase the wasted” Outpace is not talking about or to a specific race but to the people of America that racial hatred should not be tolerated but erased from society. Both Black and White is smoking crack tonight” Drugs are not Just a black problem “It anti a secret and don’t conceal the fact the penitentiary’s packed and its filled with blacks” His observation is backed by Discard, Mouth and Andrews “Of the 789,700 male inmates in 1992, 51 percent, or 401,700 were black” and that is still a fact today.
Although it seems heaven sent we anti ready, to see a black president, uh” This line is prophetic in the sense that even though America now has a black President, but some quarters of society are still not ready to accept a Black President” “Some things will never change. Try to show another way, but you staying in the dope game. Now tells me what’s a mother to do. Been real don’t appeal to the brother in you.
You goat operate the easy way’ In these lyrics he’s now using Fraud’s structural model of the psyche, the mother is the Super Ego telling the impulsive child (the ID) hat look at another way to survive but morals do not appeal to the ID for it wants everything now and then when it gets satisfaction it shows off “l made a G Today’ the super ego critics ” but you made it in a sleazy way, selling crack to the kids” Finally the ego goes into defense mechanism “Well hey, that’s Just the way it is” The third verse begins with Outpace talking instead of rapping so that everybody understands the clear message he conveys “We goat 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. You see the old ways wasn’t working so it’s on us to do what we goat do, to survive” he is speaking to his generation, that the only way to change is complete transformation from the racial philosophies of old for the survival of the human race. “Its war on the streets and war in the middle east, Instead of war on poverty they got war on drugs so the police can bother me, And I anti never did a crime I anti have to do”. Outpace observes that whilst America concentrates on foreign wars in the Middle East, domestic street wars rage on. He problem poverty.