I write about Gil Scott Heron quite a lot on this blog. He is one of my favourite writers, performers, musicians, famous people... and all that. He's been around a long time (put his first album out in 1970) and sometimes he even gets called 'the godfather of hip hop' – mainly because he has always mixed sung words with spoken ones (to great effect). I've liked some hip hop over my years as a listener but really only selected tracks here and there... for me a lot of hip hop fans and makers could do with listening to this godfather a lot more. Listen to how carefully he chooses and uses words, listen to how musical he is in everything he does, listen to his gentleness (even when he's very, very angry), listen to how you can hear every word he says, to how anyone could understand what he is saying and to how much he cares about that. Then when you're done listen to him again and again... until your brain throbs with envy at quite how amazing his work is.
OK, I'm gushing now.
Here are a couple of tracks from his latest album 'I'm new here'. After much hard living GSH is looking and sounding older than his 61 years and this album is a bit different to some of his earlier work too – produced as it was by XL's Richard Russell. It's a great piece of work though.
Here's the album's opening track 'On coming from a broken home (part 1)':
and here's 'I'm new here':
Don't ever say I don't give you anything.
San Juan and Masca
1 hour ago