Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fix: Gil Scott Heron: Me & the Devil

I am really excited about Gil Scott Heron's first record in 13 years.
The much anticipated album comes out February 8 and features this heavy number.
(wait...are any of Gil's numbers not a bit laden with grief of some sort?)
I'm not sure if you are familiar with his catalogue but his album, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, inspired countless hip hop artists today. Nas, Mos Def, Common and tons of others all used samples from this album.
I really got into Gil Scott Heron when I was just starting college and taking my first Pan African Studies courses (as you may or may not know, there were MANY). I was very political and was really influenced by spoken word (I was in a spoken word crew), so naturally, I gravitated toward Gil's message.
He talked about social and political issues from another level.
His message was to uplift the black man. To try and stop the cycle of disinformation, institutionalized racism, and the circulation of drugs (most notably crack) in the ghetto.
He talked about how much of a struggle it truly was to get out of the ghetto.
All delivered with that voice. Oh, man. His voice. He doesn't even ever need to sing. ever. Just speak. You can't not listen.
The irony is, he talked so much against drugs and he himself started using. He was in a spell of trouble for a few years for drugs, but that's all over now.
You may remember him on the 2001 Blackalicious album, Blazing Arrow. The song first in flight has him singing and humming.
(God, that was such a good album. I remember listening to it non-stop for a good chunk of time when it came out. And then how Gab was kinda a disappointment after that.)
So, can you tell I am excited he is releasing a new album?
This video is pretty powerful stuff too. There are moments when I forget it is in New York and not New Orleans. I also like that the only live footage you see of Gil is at the very end when he is delivering pure power. This video gives me the chills. Super creepy.

Man, I can't believe it's Friday again.