The Mind of Gil Scott-Heron: A Collection of Poetry and Music
Much the precursor to the politically motivated poetry of Mos Def and Zack De La Rocha, Gil Scott Heron’s long-lost verbal tirades have been rediscovered on this collection. Swooning blues beats and a sweltering nightclub atmosphere harness the heavy, spoken-word cacophony spouted by Mr. Heron. Cries of injustice with rhythm have been relevant longer than some of us have imagined. Words spouted on “Jose Campos Torres” and “We Beg Your Pardon America” prove this dude had done his homework in the hotbed of the underclass frustration during the 1970s.
The re-release may not seem significant in the 21st Century, but Heron’s relaxed, passionate tales of woe take us back to the oppression felt by the African-American population in this decade. Even though the music subsides from time to time, this original derelict of dialect provides enough lyrical laceration to carry and enlighten you throughout the seven tracks. The title of “Godfather Of Rap” is much more suited to Heron than Dolemite, with the latter saving his breath for more silly, comedic anecdotes than anarchical prose. The hip-hop revolution may have begun here, and we need to focus on the potency rather than the urgency of Heron’s words.
Rumal-Gia/TVT Records, 23 E. 4th Street, New York, NY 10003; http://www.tvtrecords.com