You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.
That is, as you very well may know, the opening verse to Gil Scott-Heron‘s classic, 1970 pop-culture critique “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Sadly, Scott-Heron passed away somewhat suddenly on the weekend at 62. So we have another one of these bittersweet “RIP” OSM posts, which always result in the posting of some greats songs and some coverage for a deserving artist, but they come on the unfortunate occasion of said artists death. I wish I could find ways to do OSM posts on folks like Scott-Heron while they are alive, but I’m not sure how to make that happen.
So if you’re not familiar with Scott-Heron, this seems like a good time to get to know his work - he was still performing, recently working with UK producer Jamie XX on an album of remixes called We’re New Here. Although I’d never been too familiar with his work, I’d always known him to be a highly-regarded, influential figure in hip hop. This was from his work being sampled in hip hop of course, but it was mainly because in the 80′s and early 90′s, whenever there was talk of how hip hop came to be, Scott-Heron was often credited as one of it’s creators. Seems logical, based on the format and delivery of his songs, but Scott-Heron himself didn’t seem to agree with this completely:
“If there was any individual initiative that I was responsible for it might have been that there was music in certain poems of mine, with complete progression and repeating ‘hooks’, which made them more like songs than just recitations with percussion”
Despite what he might have thought it, it would be hard to deny that GSH’s work certainly belongs in hip hop’s family tree. To remember him, we’ve compiled a few songs that sampled Gil’s work. Some use musical elements only, while some sample the man’s wise words, and a few share his social conscience (especially Ace’s “Take A Look Around” which is almost Ace’s version of Gil) but when you look at this great group of artists (and their respective producers) from hip hop’s joyous adolescence, you know he had a real impact. Enjoy the songs.
R.I.P. Gil Scott-Heron
MP3:: De La Soul - Area
MP3:: Warren G. - Do You See
MP3:: Grand Puba - 2000
VIDEO:: Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle
VIDEO:: Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx - NY Is Killing Me