We Almost Lost Detroit by Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
Earlier tonight, @perrralta messaged me this: “you got some serious writing to do tonight for Gil Scott Heron.” He wasn’t kidding. The truth is, there are so many dimensions to Gil Scott-Heron that cannot be covered in the several paragraphs I try to limit myself to each week. I could talk about Gil Scott-Heron, the Soul/Jazz/Funk Artist or the Spoken Word Poet/Author/Songwriter/Activist (breathe)… Gil Scott-Heron was a brilliant writer. He didn’t just write poems; he wrote the liner notes to an entire generation and he wrote about the social and political issues facing them — lay all that over a fusion of jazz, blues, soul, funk, percussion and you have one AMAZING catalog. He didn’t just write poems.
“Gil Scott-Heron released poems as songs, recorded songs that were based on his earliest poems and writings, wrote novels and became a hero to many for his music, activism and his anger. There is always the anger – an often beautiful, passionate anger. An often awkward anger. A very soulful anger. And often it is a very sad anger. But it is the pervasive mood, theme and feeling within his work – and around his work, hovering, piercing, occasionally weighing down; often lifting the work up, helping to place it in your face. And for all the preaching and warning signs in his work, the last two decades of Gil Scott-Heron’s life to date have seen him succumb to the pressures and demons he has so often warned others about.”
— Fairfax New Zealand, February 2010
Some call him the “godfather of rap” for the influence he had on hip hop in terms of his poetic style, vocal delivery, and choice of social/political topics which has been revisited many times by emcees throughout the years. His most influential piece was “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” which was listed on the top 20 political songs of all-time. He also had an indirect influence on hip hop by way of the amazing compositions and arrangements he created that lend themselves so easily to being sampled. And sampled he was – by Kanye West/Common, Brand Nubian, Grand Puba, Black Star, MF Doom et al.
This week’s sample, We Almost Lost Detroit, is a song about the 1966 partial meltdown of Enrico Fermi Nuclear Power Plant which was just 30 miles from Detroit. In 1966, we almost lost Detroit. In 2011, we lost a legend… well almost — He’s immortalized through his music and beatmakers who continue to sample his amazing works. RIP.
Quick Update: At the bottom of this post, please check out the brand new music video by Deep Foundation x Hydroponikz x Generation ILL. The beat was taken from BeatSession 11|17|08 and the video was co-directed/edited by Gen ILL/WBS’s very own Sideways.
Featured Beats and Producers:
How Are We Gonna’ Climb? by Bruce Juice (Orlando, FL)
I Like This Piano by The Way by Francis Peralta (Toronto, Canada)
Peace for Gil by Jomac (Washington DC)
She’s Almost Losing Out by Sideways (Portland, OR)
Seduction by Gee (Toronto, Canada)
Walking In Reminisce by NeV (Augusta, GA)
Detroit by Dingo (Detroit, MI)
Its a Brand New Day by SDM/BoxoutBeats (Makati City, Philippines)
Lookin Up by Grayscale (Richmond, VA)
No Gravity (Snippet) By SPNZ (Makati City, Philippines)
Heron is old for Hearn by Ant Hearn (Southampton, England)
Losing My Mind by Paper Son (Los Angeles, CA)
In My Dreams by 25/8 (Miami, FL)
Song For My (Bokoor) Father by Blackph03nix (London, England)
Opportunities by PMBeatz (Washington DC)
The Most Beautifulest Girl in This World feat. Nimbus 9 by Chrizo (Las Piñas, Philippines)
The Star Dance by Freshvilla (Orlando, FL)
Gil and Miles by Freshvilla (Orlando, FL)
Some Songs Which Also Use This Sample:
The People by Common
Brown Skin Lady by Black Star
((NEW MUSIC VIDEO)) Deep Foundation & Hydroponikz – Generation ILL: