So cool. American poet Gil Scott-Heron is back, and it looks like he’s got a new album, I’m New Here, coming out in February on XL. Scott-Heron has struggled with drug abuse and incarceration for much of the decade, and that hardship is definitely reflected in the ominous tone of this video. But his voice sounds great, and the poetry is raw and effective. 100% badass. You can download the song from imnewhere.net.
If you give even the least bit of shit about the history of the Black Power movement in America and how it intersected with the white, (primarily) collegiate counterculture of the late sixties, you owe it to yourself to pick up Scott-Heron’s 1970 debut, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox. It contains my all-time favorite skewering of the type of “revolt on weekend” kid I was when I was 19:
…Alienating themselves from everything but dirt and money
with long hair, grime, and dope
to camou-hide the things that cannot be hidden.
They become runaway children
to walk the streets downtown with everyday black people.
Sitting on the curb crying
because we know that they will go back home
with a clear conscious and a college degree.
The irony of it all of course
is when a pale face SDS motherfucker dares to hurt
when I tell him to go find his own revolution.
He wonders why I tell him
that America’s revolution will not be the melting pot
but the toilet bowl.
He is fighting for legalized smoke, or lower voting age,
less lip from his generation gap, and fucking in the street.
Where is my parallel to that?
All I want is a good home and a wife
and children and some food to feed them every night. […]
I say, “You silly trite motherfucker,
your great grandfather tied a ball and chain to my balls
and bounced me through a cotton field
while I lived in an unflushable toilet bowl.
And now you want me to help you overthrow what?”
The only truth that can be delivered to a four year revolutionary
with a hole card i.e. skin is this:
Fuck up what you can
in the name of Piggy Wallace, Dickless Nixon, and Spiro Agnew.