It was a total shock to wake up and see the news that legendary spoken-word artist and hip-hop pioneer Gil Scott-Heron had passed away. I’d been listening to the fantastic We’re New Here collab album he did with Jamie XX the previous afternoon in the office, so his rich, careworn voice was still fresh in my mind as I scanned the brief information about his death. The man has left behind a large body of fantasic work, so we hope you took the weekend to listen to a few of his more singular pieces; I had his first album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox on repeat Saturday night. But if you’d like to experience something more upbeat and hopeful, you can celebrate his life by listening to the classic Top Billin rework of his 1980 collaboration with Brian Jackson, which Top Billin are giving away free in tribute. The move-your-feet rhythm combined with the bittersweet lyrics brings the perfect combination of love and sorrow. Download it here.
RIP GIL SCOTT-HERON
1949 – 2011