Part II: Some words on the passing of Gil Scott-Heron | Blogh

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Part II: Some words on the passing of Gil Scott-Heron

Posted on Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Yesterday, we posted quotes from some local hip hop and literary luminaries on the passing of Gil Scott-Heron. As promised, here are a few more.

BusCrates, music producer:

First time I heard his music was when I was a kid. My father had quite a few of his records. In particular, I remember him having the Winter In America LP and the Secrets LP. I'm sure he had many others, too. My personal favorite is probably the 2LP It's Your World, from 1976. It was mostly a live recording, with a few studio cuts on it. Great album! Has a really good song on [that album] called "Must Be Something," where he's says "We didn't come all this way just to give up, we didn't struggle all this time just to say we've had enough." He had some uplifting compositions, along with his more well-known politically-charged pieces. We need stuff like that so desperately now.

I'm still reeling at this devastating loss, man. I highly doubt we'll ever see anything like Gil Scott-Heron again. I am forever grateful that I did get to experience the majority of his catalog throughout my life. I played "We Almost Lost Detroit" the night before I found out about his departure from this realm.

David Riley, writer and reporter for KQV:

I didn’t get into his music until probably my 20s, when I first heard him and understood what he was getting at … But a lot of it really blew me away because it wasn’t what I [was used to hearing] in quote-unquote music, you know, the pop stuff. The fact that he has the jazz influence and just took it somewhere else, and the subject matter was there.

It was kind of interesting to hear the type of stuff he was putting out because it just wasn’t the same old, same old shit. You know? You don’t hear other people talking about Johannesburg. And that was one of the songs that I listened to and was able to give me a little more interest in the topic, because it was something that you never really heard about, even in school they never covered it all that well.

So I think people like him… they use their music for talking about more than just shaking your ass… We don’t have as many of those people as we used to and we’re worse off for it.”

Vanessa German, poet:

I remember hearing that voice and feeling it inside the inside of me, like a fist in my ham bones. I am going back in my head thinking of that feeling [the] first time I heard "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," and I said oh, this is what is love & rage simultaneously, the inexplicable place of lucky rage, like having something to say and not necessarily needing to kill a man to say it.

Jasiri X, activist and MC:

I first heard of his music in the early '90s because of hip hop music and rappers sampling his music and saying his name. It made me want to find out why he was so influential to these artists that I loved.

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" at the time I first heard it I just thought it was dope poem, but listening to it now in this age of commercialism and materialism it's so much deeper and really breaks down why we don't hear conscious music on these mainstream channels.

He's very much an influence, one because he was never afraid to speak truth to power, but at the same time he was comfortable enough in himself to talk about his own struggles and shortcomings

Born Shamir, music producer and MC for Classic 1824 Music:

I heard ["The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"] in the '70s so it was to me a funky beat and milky bassline. As for the messages; I couldn't really put them in to context because I was a child. However, growing up and still listening to the same albums, literally, I found new meaning through seeing the same issues existing in years after it was written. Sadly, it just shows me that at the root of our society, the same problems exist with poverty, inequalities and the need for changes for the better of the people of color in America and any people who recognize they are affected by the ills of the 10-percenters who blood suck the poor decade after decade. With wool over our eyes, it is exactly that which we are oblivious to and continue to be a victim of. Thankfully, when the conscious can reach the masses or at least the individual, the thought provoking perspectives can be shared and acknowledged in a most palatable method.

Thank you to Gil and others like the Last Poets who keep us in tune through music and who's message reigns relevant in 2011 and [who are] an inspiration to this generation to continue to spread love through awakening the population.


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