Throwback: Moodymann ft. Gil Scott-Heron- Amerika

The poetry and voice of Gil Scott-Heron have long struck a chord with musicians and producers; but who can blame them for the urge to create music that goes some way to competing with his iconic words? In this track Scott-Heron’s softly spoken monologue strides out as Moodymann’s sinuous groove builds and swells underneath, tying up three generations of African-American musicianship.

Moodymann’s funky techno-house stylings owe a debt in terms of sound to artists such as Idris Muhammad, the jazz artist whose ‘Turn This Mutha Out’ is sampled here, and to Gil Scott-Heron in terms of ideology and inspiration, with his militant concentration on African-American pride and issues. Moodymann is known for his afro-centric leanings, rejecting abrasive and clinical European styles in favour of the warm jazz, blues and funk influences running through his music.

As Scott-Heron questions the demise of blues as it slowly distances from its roots in the use of Africans as livestock by Americans and the resulting struggle for freedom and acceptance, Moodymann is surveying the current state of African-Americans in society, both  prompting and answering the question- ‘What is next?’

Release Date: 1997

-Bert Coyle


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