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April 16, 2010 9:59 PM   Subscribe

Gil Scott-Heron, Godfather of Rap. Parts 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 and 6.
posted by flapjax at midnite (19 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks. This is my absolute favorite Scott-Heron track.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:02 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


His new album, by the way, is absolutely spellbinding.
posted by blucevalo at 10:16 PM on April 16, 2010


The Revolution will not be tweeted.
posted by fartknocker at 10:19 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, fartknocker (helluva username!), the revolution, if there is one, probably will be tweeted. The television of Scott-Heron's oft-quoted piece is a top-down, old media phenomenon. What aired was (and is) decided upon by a relative few. Twitter is, theoretically at least, in the hands of the people, so, theoretically, the revolution would be tweeted.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:28 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love this guy. Whitey on the Moon has been playing in my head a lot lately, as I wonder what he thinks about the US yanking our whiteys off the moon for a while.

"I think I'll send these doctor bills, airmail special, to Whitey on the moon"
posted by Juicy Avenger at 10:41 PM on April 16, 2010


Something I've always been curious about. Is this (youtube) rap? If not, why not?

It's "Rock Island", from "The Music Man", and it was written in 1956. If it is rap, then how is Gil Scott-Heron the godfather of etc. ? Why not Meredith Willson?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:15 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Chocolate Pickle, there are so many tributaries that led to the ocean of what we now call rap. Gil Scot-Heron can certainly be called one of its godfathers, but that doesn't mean there haven't been all sorts of historical precedents for rap.

I'd argue, however, that Scott-Heron was certainly more directly influential on rap than any scene from the Music man...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:22 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a wonderful and inspiring documentary!

The first link didn't work for me.. I think it should go here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kdevhUCn7o
posted by rajbot at 11:38 PM on April 16, 2010


His latest album is 300 percent better than it has any right to be. "New York is Killing Me" is the jam.
posted by klangklangston at 12:03 AM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


the revolution, if there is one, probably will be tweeted. The television of Scott-Heron's oft-quoted piece is a top-down, old media phenomenon. What aired was (and is) decided upon by a relative few. Twitter is, theoretically at least, in the hands of the people, so, theoretically, the revolution would be tweeted.
Oh dear god. How is twitter in the hands of the people? The U.S. State department was able to keep it from going down for maintenance during the Iranian revolution, you don't think they could do the opposite? Turn it off if they wanted too?
It's "Rock Island", from "The Music Man", and it was written in 1956. If it is rap, then how is Gil Scott-Heron the godfather of etc. ? Why not Meredith Willson?
You can't be serious.
posted by delmoi at 12:59 AM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ugh, thought this was an obit thread at first glance. Don't do that to me!
posted by bifter at 1:11 AM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The U.S. State department was able to keep it from going down for maintenance during the Iranian revolution, you don't think they could do the opposite? Turn it off if they wanted too?

Yes, of course, I know. That's why I said "theoretically". Twice.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:20 AM on April 17, 2010


Yes, of course, I know. That's why I said "theoretically". Twice.

I thought the "theoretically" part referred to the revolution. But how is twitter even Theoretically in the hands of the people? The internet as a whole is a heterogeneous system with no central point of failure*. But twitter is not.

(*but how resistant to disruption is the internet in whole? Several countries have "off switches", and south Korea used it's recently for some reason, although I don't remember the event. It also turns out they're now banning late night gaming, and slowing the internet down at night to prevent it for problem users. It stands to reason that countries will be able to shut down the internet by fiat in the event of an uprising, but it would be much more complicated then simply shutting down Twitter. The Iranians didn't even kill their own internet connection, just degraded it severely, and they have far less resources and control then the U.S. government)

But beyond logistics for the revolutionaries, how much can twitter be used to, say, foment a revolutionary spirit? Television would never do that, because the content was controlled at the top. But couldn't a distributed system like twitter do that?

Personally, I'm not really sure that you can really convince people of much 140 characters at a time. It's great for preaching, or, at least snarking to the choir. But revolutions need anecdotes, or propaganda that inspires people to action. That can't really be done on twitter, but I suppose it could be linked too.
posted by delmoi at 1:43 AM on April 17, 2010


This could become a discussion of what a "revolution" even is, I guess, or what it could be, might be, should be... I dunno, it's a really big topic, and, well, maybe a futile one. Thinking in terms of "revolutions" at this point seems somehow, um, quaint, or something. Unless you're talking about the kind of thing that just happened in Kyrgyz, the kind of old-school political upheaval that can still happen in a tiny country like that. Fighting in the streets, overrunning the cops and chasing the dictator outta the country. But, the USA? Wow, hard to imagine...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:58 AM on April 17, 2010


I'm pretty excited about seeing Gil Scott-Heron at the Syracuse Jazz Festival this summer. He's playing right after Richie Havens which makes it even sweeter.
posted by maurice at 3:35 AM on April 17, 2010


Whenever Gil Scott-Heron pops up on MeFi, I always mean to turn people on to Etheridge Knight. I still remember finding him in a "black poets" anthology from the '70s (the stuff they don't let you read in high school), standing in the American Lit. aisle at the public library, and I was transported. He was angry and outraged and resigned and funny. Here he is reading and talking at Stone Soup, in 1987: 1 ("Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane"), 2, 3, and 4, and a recording of "The Idea of Ancestry."
posted by steef at 6:48 AM on April 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, I think we can at least agree that the revolution will not be on Facebook. No?
posted by fartknocker at 9:57 AM on April 17, 2010


You're missing the point. The (hypothetical) revolution will be wherever the people are creating the content. People create content about what is happening to them and what interests them. Sure there's a lot of stupid on Facebook and YouTube but the revolution is there as well. At least the Tea Party is.

Gil Scott-Heron agrees.
posted by irisclara at 1:35 AM on April 18, 2010


Dammit. I was all "yeah prefuse 73 is pretty good, but 'the godfather of rap' is way over the top". Then i realized we weren't talking about scott herren
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 12:11 PM on April 18, 2010


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