Oakland emcee sOul recently teamed up with fellow Oaklanders Crown City Rockers members Woodstock and Headnodic to write and record a tribute to the influential late great Gil Scott-Heron. Simply titled “Gil Scott Tribute” the song was recorded in one take (captured in the video above - a video blog session recording with Headnodic who mixed the track) and features Woodstock playing the beat live on his MPC and sampling Gil Scott Heron's “We Almost Lost Detroit” (off Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson's 1977 album Bridges) as well as recreating previous hip-hop interpretations of the original sample. Intricate stuff, and it works nicely too, with sOul on the mic spitting socio-political commentary along personal life monologue.
The song was recorded simply as a tribute to Gil Scott Heron and is not for sale but available as a free download here. Gil Scott Heron, who died at age 62 in May 2011, has been called the "godfather of rap" - a term he himself dismissed, preferring to label himself a "bluesologist." After the artist's sudden death a couple of years ago Chuck D of Public Enemy saluted Scott-Heron as a highly influential figure saying, in a heartfelt tribute to the man, that, "We do what we do and how we do because of you!" I agree with Chuck D as to the impact on hip-hop and music in general that Gil Scott Heron has made.
Gil Scott-Heron's legacy includes over twenty albums - most of which you will find at Amoeba Music in the stores and on the Amoeba website. And below is the artist's famous 1973 recording "The Bottle" (another song sampled many times in hip-hop) made with his frequent musical collaborator Brian Jackson. It was released in 1974 as the sole single off Scott-Heron's and Jackson's album Winter in America with its success helping lead to Jackson and Scott-Heron landing a deal with Arista Records for whom Scott-Heron would record numerous albums for over the next two decades.