Without a doubt one of the most important voices in 20th century music, Gil Scott-Heron laid out the blueprint for the whole rap genre in 1971 with his slinky, bad-as-fuck anthem “The Revolution Would Not Be Televised”.
I’m New Here is Gil Scott-Heron’s first album in 13 years, produced by Richard Russell – head of XL Recordings, I’m New Here is an album that sees Gil Scott sounding as vital as ever; a record that reveals something unexpected at every turn. It eschews the cosy arrangements and retrospective leanings one might expect from an artist over forty years into their career. Instead, I’m New Here sees Gil Scott-Heron still looking forward, still challenging conventions and expectations.
Richard Russell has been an occasional artist and producer throughout his time as a label head and the possibility of collaborating musically with a personal hero was too exciting to ignore. It would turn out be an ideal fit for Scott-Heron too, as an artist who has remained consistently relevant throughout his life and lately, almost too much so. Starting from humble beginnings Russell has seen the XL label grow to be one of the most well known and influential independent record labels in the world today. Testament to his passion for cutting edge and original artists, Richard Russell has closely worked with and nurtured the career of artists such as Basement Jaxx, The White Stripes, The Prodigy, M.I.A and Vampire Weekend. Connect the dots and you get a good sense of why Russell first made contact with Gil Scott-Heron in Rikers Islands Prison Facility in June 2006 with the proposal of making a new album together.
LISTEN: Have a listen to the first single Where Did The Night Go streaming from Gil Scott-Heron’s website.
WATCH: Newsnight feature from November 2009 covering his past work, influence and his new album:
I’m New Here is set for release February 5th 2010 on XL Recordings/Remote Control Records.