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Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)

There isn’t much to say about Amy Winehouse that hasn’t already been said. She was a magnificent talent with an incredible voice that launched a renewal of interest in classic R&B and soul, her short career marred by addiction and personal troubles. Though Amy Winehouse passed away just this weekend, we had already lost this brilliant woman some time ago. She joins the so-called “27 Club” having given only a fraction of the potential she had to offer to the music world.

As my personal statement to this tragedy, I would encourage anyone to try to understand the factors at work here and not put too much blame on her for what had happened. Despite the insensitive “rehab” jokes that many seem quick to offer, Winehouse sought treatment at rehabilitation clinics several times – though ultimately succumbing to her addictions. Drug addiction is a disease, not a choice, that claims many people every year.

May she rest in peace, wherever she is, and be able to leave the demons that she never could escape. For us here on Earth, we can honor her memory by keeping the music alive and giving more attention to a widespread, but often neglected, disease.

RIP (1949-2011)

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something

-Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron wasn’t a vet. Even when protest songs in the 70s were directed at the Vietnam war, Scott-Heron’s music focused on the war against racism and poverty at home. Where most Memorial Day related things you will see today offer store discounts and other irrelevant garbage, it seems more than appropriate to take a minute to remember all of America’s heroes. The so-called “Godfather of Rap” passed away last Friday, and with him we lost an American icon and extremely influential voice in music.

Scott-Heron is said to have laid the groundwork for rap as an art form to take flight, though he would personally deny these claims. His spoken-word style of music was poetic, soulful and often bluesy. Most known for his famous “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Scott-Heron was an active musician until his death, having released an album just last year.

RIP to Gil Scott-Heron and all of America’s heroes. May their memory never be forgotten.

[Download] Gil Scott-Heron “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

[Download] Gil Scott-Heron “New York Is Killing Me (Feat. Nas)”

You can find Gil Scott-Heron’s work on iTunes

RIP 1972-1997

No need to sit here and explain the importance of Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls. Ya’ll have probably heard of him. Biggie is my favorite solo rapper of all time, and one of my heroes. Strange designation you might give someone who espouses the virtue of violence – but cut down to it’s purest, rawest form, Biggie’s music and message is one of strength and perseverance. There is rarely a week that goes by that I’m not bumpin’ Biggie at some point. Ever day is Notorious B.I.G. day. Brooklyn, what.

Wonder if he would have cringed at this Miley Cyrus mashup. The gangster in me says yes, but the music lover would say no. Simply stated it’s one of the best re-imaginings of his work.

[Download] Notorious B.I.G. vs Miley Cyrus – “Party and Bullshit in the USA”