If you like Gil Scott-Heron’s music, message, and his individualism, you must also respect his place as a modern vanguard of artistic and personal dissent. It’s all part of the same package, the artist and the man as one. In a recent interview with NPR, Heron spoke to his recent time in prison: “I have not recovered from anything. I did 18 months in one stretch and a year one time. That’s a small enough price to pay for all the crimes I committed.”
Defiant, original, and uncompromising, Scott-Heron has just released I’m New Here, his first recording in a decade and a half. On the inside of the CD’s front cover is a personal manifesto for listening to the recording. That’s your introduction to the experience, and it starts before you even start listening to it. The artistic power behind “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is as straightforward and relevant as ever:
LISTEN TO IT FOR THE FIRST TIME UNDER OPTIMUM CONDITIONS.
Not in your car or on a portable player through a headset.
Take it home.
Get rid of all distractions, (even him or her).
Turn off your cell phone.
Turn off everything that rings or beeps or rattles or whistles.
Make yourself comfortable.
Play your CD.
LISTEN all the way through.
Think about what you got.
Think about who would appreciate this investment.
Decide if there is someone to share this with.
Turn it on again.