Yesterday, the great Gil Scott-Heron releasedI'm New Here (XL), his first album in 15 years. Both an early pioneer of what would become hip-hop--street poetry about the streets--and a powerful voice for black radicalism, Scott-Heron's raw delivery and even rawer lyrics capture the machinations of violence, addiction, and oppression like few others.
Of course, Scott-Heron followed the old adage "write what you know." Indeed, his long hiatus is due in part to his latest stint in the clink on drug charges. But, as he told Salon in a recent interview: "I didn't do nothing that made me Pablo Escobar." That said, his most recent troubles did seem to leave him with an even darker worldview than he's previously exhibited, as evidenced by the video for his remake of Robert Johnson's "Me and the Devil"--a study in bad juju in B&W: