“Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage.”
William S. Burroughs
Last week Gil Scott-Heron’s death came and went, and then his name disappeared into the internet abyss. He seemed vaguely familiar to a lot of people, but aside from his song poem, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” his work was really known by few. As it turns out, the ones who knew the most about him were not the consumers of music so much as artists and performers and writers and people who make things. Gil Scott-Heron was what people call an “artists’ artist.” It is a designation given only to the rare few who make art with a high degree of integrity despite whatever difficulties might plague them — poverty & racism to name a few.
It is no exaggeration that his first album, A New Black Poet — Small Talk at 125th Street and Lenox, exploded onto the music and poetry scene of 1970, tapping directly into the collective... More