Our schedule over the Memorial Day weekend didn’t provide us with the chance to share our feelings over the loss of Gil Scott-Heron, the poet, spoken word artist, musician and activist who we mentioned several times in the brief time that we have been up and running. Gil Scott-Heron, who during his colorful life battled many demons, including drug addiction and HIV, passed away on May 27. He was 62 years old.
Gil Scott-Heron is often considered the “Godfather of Rap,” for his influential style of politically charged poetry and content centering on the plight of African Americans. Best known for his seminal “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Gil Scott-Heron influenced poets, songwriters and hip hop artists for decades after his peak.
In February 2010, Gil Scott-Heron dropped I’m New Here, his first album in 16 years, led by the gritty single, “New York Is Killing Me.” We remarked at the time how ripe the song was for a rap addition, picturing Mos Def as the perfect candidate. As if heeding our call, the Mighty Mos Def did jump on the track, though Nas beat him to it, both MCs doing the song justice.
Now that Gil Scott-Heron is gone, Cookin Soul delivers a fine tribute mixtape which we thought was worth highlighting, showcasing “signature Gil sounds fitted up with some speech samples, looped runs, and blended up atmosphereic moods,” says ology.com.
The 17-track mixtape is a free download, and is a fitting tribute to a man who helped define rap music as we know it.