Gil Scott-Heron Essentials
Writer, poet, and sonic militant Gil Scott-Heron skilfully juggled music and verse throughout his 40-year career. Keeping his ears and eyes open to the societal ills and civil rights issues that plagued the streets, he made an impact with influential, profoundly humane and candid recordings like Pieces of a Man (1971) and Winter in America (1974). His stormy spoken word, delivered in a resonant baritone, is credited with kick-starting hip-hop. When coupled with velvety soul, the quiver of jazz flute, and the funk patterns of the congas, it both sparks debate and soothes the soul.