Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sunday Sermon : Remembering Poet , Muscian Gil Scott-Heron Godfather of Rap

The great Gil Scott heron died a week ago so here's a video and some lyrics.
Gil Scott heron wrote not just love songs but wrote about important social issues such as poverty, war , racism , inequality , injustice rooted in rich imagery of real life while calling social and political activism .

Note: parts of this post were written in March 2007 at this blog. GORD.
The Revolution Will Not Be televised

Gil Scott Heron's Whitey On The Moon

Gil Scott Heron's humorous but scathing indictment of a society which does not have its priorities right from Space Travel to perpetual war or helping the rich get richer.

Gil Scott Heron Winter In America
A Song just as if not more relevant today

Here are the lyrics of "The Revolution Will Not be Televised " by Gil-Scott Heron:

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
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.

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, because 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 in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in 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 damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
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,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
about 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, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.
And here are the lyrics from the Ironic & satirical "Whitey On the Moon":

Whitey on the Moon
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey's on the moon)
I can't pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
(while Whitey's on the moon)
The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
('cause Whitey's on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
I wonder why he's uppi' me?
('cause Whitey's on the moon?)
I wuz already payin' 'im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
Junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
An' as if all that shit wuzn't enough:
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an' arm began to swell.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Was all that money I made las' year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain't no money here?
(Hmm! Whitey's on the moon)
Y'know I jus' 'bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I'll sen' these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)

Kanye West Pays Respect To Gil Scott-Heron At Memorial by Rahman J. Dukes via June 3, 2011

The music industry bid farewell to the one of its most influential stars, poet of all poets and legendary musician, Gil Scott-Heron who was laid to rest yesterday following an emotional, yet celebratory tribute fit for a king. The funeral services held on Thursday at the Harlem Riverside Church for Heron was packed wall to wall consisting mostly of family and friends as well a number of musicians all remembering the man who coined the phrase "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."

Gil Scott-Heron passed away last Friday due to an unknown illness he suffered following a recent trip to Europe. News of his passing shocked the music industry above and beyond. It was Heron's mix of soul and political anecdotes into his music that would later influence an entire sector of hip-hop highlighted in songs from artists such as Public Enemy, Common, Mos Def, Kanye West and much more. Following Heron's death rapper Lupe Fiasco penned an open letter to the "godfather of rap" remixing his infamous track to "The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized."

...Often regarded as one of the leaders and chief influences in the precursory stages of hip hop, Gil Scott-Heron helped to define a turbulent time for African-Americans and black militarism in the 1970s via his well-known works such as Pieces of a Man and Winter in America. His politically charged poem and song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is perhaps Scott-Heron’s most notable work as the 1971 single from Pieces of a Man has been sampled by hip-hop artists and often quoted by many.

Gil Scott-Heron’s 2010 album I’m New Here was released to critical acclaim and signaled a resurgence of art from the poet as his much publicized struggles with drug addiction and legal problems almost overshadowed his legacy. Scott-Heron leaves behind 15 studio albums, 11 compilation albums and nine live recordings.

and also see: Gil Scott-Heron will not be memorialized
JOSHUA OSTROFF From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jun. 03, 2011

Public Enemy’s Chuck D famously dubbed hip hop the “Black CNN,” which must make Gil Scott-Heron, who died last Friday at 62, the Voice of Black America. Later dubbed the “godfather of rap,” Scott-Heron’s musical musings during the 1970s were like shortwave signals breaking through the static of the United States' post-civil-rights-movement morass.

...Like his untelevised revolution, Scott-Heron “will not be right back after a message.” But his own message lives on in the hip hop that he helped birth.

In Jay-Z’s recent book Decoded, he made clear that rap was just musical poetry – which many would say makes Scott-Heron's The Revolution Will not be Televised ground zero. People had married poetry and music before, but it had been sung. What Scott-Heron did differently was prove the power of the spoken word paired with a rhythm track. Though he denied his role in rap’s birth, he did admit in the intro to his 1990 poetry collection Now and Then, “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.”

Rap may have developed anyway, but it arguably would have become something different. Scott-Heron’s lyrical combination of poetic devices and clever wordplay with radical politics, and the way those words flowed over his jazz, soul and funk-based backing tracks, became the blueprint for the more sophisticated and politicized second-wave rappers like Public Enemy and KRS-One (as well as later artists like Rage Against the Machine and Kanye West) who gave rap music its lasting artistic legitimacy. Generations of rappers, from Jungle Brothers and Tupac to Black Star and Common, paid tribute by sampling his seminal works.

Those works covered what Scott-Heron would dub on his 1974 album Winter in America. Though the 1960s celebrated a series of civil-rights victories, they soon began to feel hollow as inner-city poverty soared, activists became passive, drugs and gangs flooded the streets and the skyline glowed orange as slumlords torched their tenements.

At 21, he released Revolution on his 1970 debut Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, a live recording of spoken-word street poetry over congas and bongos. Though inspired by concurrent act The Last Poets, Scott-Heron advanced the style with a series of indelible anthems that reverberate today.

He released 13 albums of social commentary between 1970 and 1982, was one of the first musical guests on Saturday Night Live (at Richard Pryor’s insistence) and the first artist signed to Arista Records. He had a pair of sadly prophetic R&B hits with his anti-substance-abuse songs The Bottle and Angel Dust and continued his agit-pop politics with songs against nuclear power (We Almost Lost Detroit) and former U.S. president Ronald Regan (B Movie and Re-Ron).

He went largely silent during the rest of the 1980s and 1990s – releasing only one album in 1994 and rereleasing his classics in the late nineties, though he did occasionally play live shows — as he battled crack addiction and contracted HIV.

and so it goes,

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