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“Why did I not know that Gil Scott Heron died on
Friday. He is without question the most influential artist in the field of music
that has ever touched my life. A mentor, educator, musician and ...yes a role
model that has been a power of example from way back when. I first saw Gil, live
in performance for free on the steps of the Frederick Douglass Hall classroom
building at Howard U in 1976 or 77 while I was a student. He was charismatic and
he was profoundly talented and he made a connection that felt like you were the
main person he was performing for. Its like he was giving me the courage to
stand for something so I wouldn’t fall for anything. He represented the
adventurous nature of the generation my older siblings came from. People will
truly miss the man, but his message lives on in us. It's like he was giving me
the courage to stand for something so I wouldn’t fall for anything. He
represented the adventurous nature of the generation my older siblings came
from. People will truly miss the man, but his message lives on in
“Let's not forget that living in this world is no picnic, particularly for the oppressed. Gil Scott-Heron did more for humanity with his art forms than many who stand for nothing or who support in clandestine ways, evil. There are many addictions in life. Unfortunately, many people are addicted to foolishness, thus making consciously or unconsciously the lives of freedom fighters like Gil Scott-Heron incredibly burdened in unnecessary ways. Before calling out Gil for being so-called "caught up," understand that show business is not easy to partake of for anyone, let alone a person who is challenging the bigotries that are integral parts of the web of Hell on earth. I wish that I knew of one person who is perfect. The real struggle in life is not to forget that we are spiritual beings at war with evil. Evil gets its share of licks in against us. We must persevere though, as Gil Scott-Heron evidently did. Any less participation in life is cowardice and recognition that the service to evil is mandatory in acceptable ways. The media often inspires our being disappointed in our freedom fighters by making gossip of their flaws. Gossip must be stopped as an effective tool to assassinate humanitarians' characters. RIP, Gil.”
“Gil Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon in New York, his book publisher reported. He was 62. The influential poet and musician is often credited with being one of the progenitors of hip-hop, and is best known for the spoken-word piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."
Scott-Heron was born in Chicago in 1949. He spent his early years in Jackson, Tenn., attended high school in The Bronx, and spent time at Pennsylvania's Lincoln University before settling in Manhattan. His recording career began in 1970 with the album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, which featured the first version of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." The track has since been referenced and parodied extensively in pop culture.
Scott-Heron continued to record through the 1970s and early '80s, before taking a lengthy hiatus. He briefly returned to the studio for 1994's Spirits. That album featured the track "Message to the Messengers," in which Scott-Heron cautions the hip-hop generation that arose in his absence to use its newfound power responsibly. He has been cited as a key influence by many in the hip-hop community — such as rapper-producer Kanye West, who closed his platinum-selling 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with a track built around a sample of Scott-Heron's voice.
Scott-Heron struggled publicly with substance abuse in the 2000s, and spent the early part of the decade in and out of jail on drug possession charges. He began performing again after his release in 2007, and in 2010 released a new album, I'm New Here, to widespread critical acclaim.
Forty years ago, Gil Scott-Heron was preaching revolution.
Today, after multiple stints in prison, he's back with a more introspective collection of music: I'm New Here. It's his first new recording in 16 years.
Scott-Heron's hugely influential 1971 spoken-word piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" has inspired generations of imitators. In a way, he was a rapper before rap existed. Even today, hip-hop artists scour his back catalogue for samples.
Gil Scott-Heron now lives in East Harlem — just across the river from Rikers Island, where he spent more than a year of his life. That's where record producer Richard Russell first met with him in 2005.
"It just struck me that he needed to be heard," Russell tells Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "I found it inconceivable that he didn't have things to say."
Since Scott-Heron didn't write any music while he was in prison, the two of them spent a lot of time listening to songs they might cover — from blues standards by Robert Johnson to the alternative folk of Smog.
"[Russell] had some weird songs he wanted me to sing," Scott-Heron tells Raz.
In the end, I'm New Here is filled with equal parts cover songs, poetry set to music, and what they call "interludes" — snippets of conversation that the microphones caught during the production of the album.
Russell brought a minimalist electronic vibe to the production, a sound unlike anything Scott-Heron had ever attempted.
"He wanted to do something spartan," Scott-Heron says. "I thought that some of my best work was when there wasn't a whole lot of work being done on it, like 'Winter in America' and 'Secrets' and other things where there weren't a whole lot of people in the studio. Just a whole lot of good music got played, even if it was just a piano and a vocal or something like that."
But if you're looking for signs of regret about his checkered past, you won't find it on this album. Scott-Heron says he's unapologetic about his drug-related brushes with the law.
"I have not recovered from anything," he says. "I did 18 months in one stretch and a year one time. That's a small enough price to pay for all the crimes I committed. I did a lot of s- - - I shouldn't have done. And do a lot of s- - - nowadays. If they catch me, I'm not gonna be able to do that no more."
Critics are already praising Scott-Heron's return to recording. The Guardian writes, "This is as striking a return as we're likely to hear all year."
Scott-Heron's analysis is a bit more modest.
"The record came out pretty much the way we wanted it to," he says. "It said pretty much what we tried to say. It's as good a job as I could have done right there."
Don't Give Up
Work For Peace
Winter In America
The Other Side/ Home Is Where The Hatred Is
A Tribute To Che...The Revolution....
We Almost Lost Detroit
Home Is Where The Praying Is...Jay Z
Aint No Such Thing As A Superman
Me And The Devil
I'm New Here
God Bless You G S-H...and keep you in his Grace!
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