Sunday, 29 May 2011

RIP GIL SCOTT-HERON

April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011

Releasing his final studio album in 2010, the first in 16 years, Gil Scott-Heron will be remembered as one of the greatest influencers of hip-hop, exerting an avid, angry energy for poetry that he used against the racial and political turmoil of the early 1970s, he has become immortalised through his own poignant words through his years of activity in music. Most recently, he allowed - along with his producer Richard Russell - his last album, 'I'm New Here' to be remixed in its entirety (bar 2 songs) by Jamie xx as 'We're New Here'.

The decision to get it remixed by Jamie xx is telling of Gil Scott-Heron's character as one who likes to push things forward into new territories; it's generally unusual to get a whole album remixed by just one person, let alone a not-that-well-known, English producer. The original album itself marks a change, being more electronically-driven trip-hop or dubstepped-ambience than the soul/funk of his previous outings. Producer Russell even claimed some influence from The xx - hence the reason for Jamie's remix. But I'm digressing.

An absolute legend has passed away, and I'd like to remind you of or introduce you to 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' - a beautifully angry ancestor to modern hip-hop and the godfather of rap's most famous piece. The poem in full is below. Rest in Peace Gil Scott-Heron.





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 out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
in 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.

The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, the revolution will not be televised, brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.

The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers on the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so God-damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally screwed Jane
on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.

The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy-armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb, or
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, or Englebert Humperdink.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

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