Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Bruce Hornsby has made his way into Hip Hop’s subconscious via being sampled by the likes of Wyclef Jean, E-40 and most notably Tupac Shakur. All three artists have either sampled or interpolated the 1986 hit “The Way It Is,” which was originally written and performed by Hornsby while he was a member of The Range. As part of their Tupac Week series, LA Weekly caught up with Hornsby and discussed how he felt about one of his more memorable tunes being co-opted into ‘Pac’s catalogue.
According to Hornsby, he was notified that his work was being used on one of the many posthumous 2Pac albums when a cassette with “Changes” on it arrived in his mail. There was a statement from the Shakur Foundation enclosed, which was apparently more of a notice than a request telling Hornsby that the song would be on ‘Pac’s Greatest Hits collection.
“The original [‘Changes’] was a lot dirtier, had a lot of the n-word,” Hornsby tells LA Weekly. “They took that out for the single. I didn’t request it; it’s their creation, it wasn’t my place to say anything.”
Hornsby added that the experiencing the song made him a 2Pac fan, and that due to the song’s message, he’s okay with the words on his now infamous chorus being changed around.
“And I must say I like the checks,” Hornsby said of the royalties he receives from “Changes.” “I was sort of floored by [2Pac’s creativity]. I thought he was so clever, and really profound, and deep. There’s a lot of gravitas to Tupac’s music, to me.”
For the entire interview, including a story about when two valet drivers parked Hornsby’s car while “Hit ‘Em Up” was playing in his car stereo, check out LA Weekly’s website.