“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Marcus Garvey
Every Thursday here on Quitetrillworldwide we are doing a throwback Thursday. We will pick a jam from the past in any genre and give you some info that you may not have known before about that artist.
Gil Scott-Heron is both the descendant of the African griots and the forefather of rap. His witty and deep monologues about racial politics were educational, groovy and entertaining. If you know anything about his music and his philosophy that translated in his music it’s pretty obvious that he is very present in the consciousness of the hip hop. Mos Def, Common, Chuck D, Q-Tip and dozens of other well respected hip hop artist have acknowledged the influence that GSH has had on their music. He was a major part of a crop of black conscious singers/poets/spoken word artist that gained prominence in the late 60s people like Curtis Mayfield, Nikki Giovani, & The Last Poets.
The first song I ever HEARD by Gill Scott Heron was “The Revolution will not be Televised”. I was about 9 or 10 at the time, I remember it sounding different than anything I had ever heard before. At first I thought it was the hip hop that I had just discovered but it sounded like a rawer version of that. The first time that I ever LISTENED to Gill Scott Heron was a song called “B-Movie”. It was a Saturday morning and the community radio station always played old school funk and soul music on Saturday morning. They had a segment for conscious music, so of course Gill was a part of that set. From the first phrase “mandate my ass” I was interested in what was going on with this song then he goes into this talk about Regan who was president at the time. I was thinking who is this guy with the deep voice talking about president Regan? Then there was a chant at the end of the song “it aint really your life, it aint really your life, it really aint nothing but a movie” hmmmmmmmm what is this guy talking about. It wasn’t until later in life when I got into Gill’s catalog that I realized that Gill’s music was a challenge a test if you will, all designed to make you think. It’s what I grew to love about hip hop which brings me back to his great influence in hip hop. A Gill Scott Herron song is like listening to a wise old male member of your family: UNCLE GILL. It’s a personal thing a one on one no matter what the subject. It feels like he has done some type of research but he is relaying it in a street corner type of way if that makes sense.
Gill’s music is more relevant today than it was when it was made. He predicted a lot of what we are seeing now and gave many artist the licence to fly with words and ideas.