obama solemn

Autograf samples Tupac’s ‘Changes’ in farewell tribute to President Obama

Tuesday, January 13, Barack Obama addressed the public for the last time as President of the United States in his hometown of Chicago. Marking the end of his eight-year tenure, Obama’s televised farewell speech inspired the millions of Americans who believe his dual-term to be one of the most progressive eras in our nation’s recent history. Among those inspired by Obama’s swan speech were fellow Chicagoans Autograf, who wasted no time in crafting a tribute to our exiting Commander-in-Chief following his final walk away from the podium.

Autograf have mastered the art of homages to classic rap and hip hop in recent times. In December, the trio gave a nod to Dr. Dre by crafting a remake of his 2001 hit, “The Next Episode,” which melded an eerie, yet ethereal atmosphere around a sample of collaborator Nate Dogg’s iconic hook. To honor Obama, Autograf have elected to honor Tupac Shakur as well, by centering an original production around the hip hop martyr’s classic, “Changes”

There’s a bittersweet nature to both the timbre of the Autograf’s production and and sample selection. The tribute, which takes the same name as 2Pac’s original song, samples the chorus heavily, which sings, “That’s just the way it is. Things will never be the same.” Autograf’s focus on this line could be viewed as a lamentation that Obama’s departure will leave the country in a new, uncertain state. However, given the context of “Changes,” the sampling of the chorus has a greater, more poignant depth.

When Shakur released “Changes” in 1998, he rapped about racial inequality, famously stating, “We ain’t ready to see a black president.” Though racial tensions are no less of a pervasive and damaging factor in modern American society than they were in 1998, revisiting Shakur’s commentary at the end of Obama’s term almost two decades later evokes powerful emotions.

Past the astutely-compiled political commentary of their homage, Autograf’s production is cleanly done, and matches the mood of its context – wistful, but serene. Though the outfit’s “Changes” tribute was quickly created, it was not hastily conceived. Overall, Autograf’s homage is one of the rare pieces of dance music which is sonically enticing, while also sharply perceptive.

“Changes (Tribute)” is available to stream and download below:

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