"If I hadn't been as eccentric, as obnoxious, as arrogant, as aggressive, as introspective, as selfish, I wouldn't be me. I wouldn't be who I am." - Gil Scott-Heron, 2009
Last year a friend of mine at XL Records asked me to put together a short mix to help promote Gil Scott-Heron's I'm New Here album. I was instructed to include a handful of classic Gil tracks along with some of the hip-hop records that sampled them, as well as songs from the new album. In addition I was given some interview snippets with Gil in which he discussed his life and career to try to work in wherever possible.
My end goal - besides integrating all the disparate elements as smoothly as possible - was to capture the stark, somber beauty of I'm New Here - a challenge because the album was so uniquely a piece of its own, an emotional open wound sonically unlike anything he'd recorded before. But I thought it came out well.
As it so happened the mix wound up getting lost in the sauce in the run-up to I'm New Here 's release. With yesterday's heart-breaking news of Gil Scott-Heron's passing, I thought I'd post it up here to share, a brief homage to this legendary artist/activist/thinker, and his brilliant final project. I hope you enjoy it.
For those of us who've been indelibly influenced by him there will never be another. Gil Scott-Heron, Rest In Power.