The albums of Gil Scott-Heron are soulful and punchy. The lyrics are poignant and unabashed, as Scott-Heron explores the injustices that he and his community faced during the 1970s and 80s. Scott-Heron’s songs are both music and poetry at their finest. He has been referred to as ‘the black Dylan’ and the ‘godfather of rap,’ and yet he has hardly reaped the rewards that those titles imply.
Scott-Heron was a poet who underscored his words with music. Few artists have been more influential to the music industry than Gil Scott-Heron. His 1970 album Small Talk preceded rap by nearly a decade, and paved the way for modern artists like Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. After Scott-Heron’s death in May of 2011 Chuck D of Public Enemy deemed Scott-Heron ‘the manifestation of the modern world.’His voice was smooth and smoky like soulful jazz itself. Ron Carter, the bassist for ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ said in the New Yorker, ‘He wasn’t a great singer, but, with that voice, if he had whispered it would have been dynamic. It was a voice like you would have for Shakespeare.”The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ is the most notable song from Small Talk. The title of the song comes from the Black Power movement slogans of the 1960s in the United States. The song references images of pop culture and media, which this revolution will not be a part of. ‘The Revolution will be live,’ Scott-Heron says. Aside from rap music, Heron was a revolutionary for civil rights. In the 1970s and 80s Heron used his music as a form of political activism. His songs were hybrids of soul, jazz, blues and funk, that examined the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, alcohol and narcotic addiction, and racial injustices. Although he has been compared to music greats from Marvin Gaye to Bob Dylan, Scott-Heron couldn’t escape the demons that kept him from similar fame.
Gill Scott-Heron could not escape the afflictions his writing represented. In the 1980s, his addiction seemed to overcome his life. He was jailed for possession of cocaine and crack, and diagnosed as HIV positive. He was living the lyrics of his music. Songs like ‘The Bottle,’ ‘Angel Dust,’ and ‘Home Is Where the Hatred Is,’ focus on addiction and the battle a person takes on when addicted. Scott-Heron’s addiction left him rail thin and paranoid. ‘Home is Where the Hatred Is’ was sampled in Kanye West’s My Way Home. The famous rapper has a lot of respect for the godfather of rap’s life and work. His legacy lives on. In 2010, before he died, Gil Scott-Heron released his final album. The album, titled I’m New Here, was welcomed by fans and left Scott-Heron a triumphant artist. ‘No matter how far wrong you’ve gone,’ the title song croons, ‘you can always turn around.’
By McKenzie Schwark McKenzie Schwark is a student at DePaul University studying English. Originally from North Dakota, McKenzie shows her love of her home state by baking plenty of tator tot hot dish. In Chicago you can usually find her waiting for the Brown Line, attending an improv show, or eating pizza and watching really bad reality TV. You can read her everyday thoughts condensed into 140 characters on Twitter @schwarkattack
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.