I remember when I first heard Kanye’s sample at the end of his fifth album. I didn’t know it was Gil Scott-Heron expressing the struggles to freedom at first, but I did hear a voice being extremely solid and conscious. “comment #1” is a cry and a stretch at the same time for something more than just moral right and voice. We see here it’s hard for someone of Scott-Heron’s color to get any voice heard but of course who can blame the art of music to be the actual platform that gets the message across in 1970. It’t not a coincidence that the chant of the man is what gets it across, the yell and stability in the voice. Stability seems to be a contradiction thought considering the song rushes and rushes until it seems as if Heron turns from someone under a corrupt system to someone who is superior now; a black American. A black american that can out stand opposite superiority. Scott-Heron can reveal what is being taken for granted, and the violence and turmoil that surrounds the isolation; it isn’t just in the streets. That’s what’s evident to me when I hear this man sing his chant; his right is nowhere to be found today. We will always see this as an outrageous thing, that we lived a time where we did not consider a certain skin a humane characteristic.
“Where is my parallel to that?” he inquiries, but of course the revolution taking place won’t shed light on what blacks deserved rather what they naturally should have. The beauty to express chant and song, to push the revolutionaries to the edge with constant struggle, with the adrenaline of overcoming the biggest struggle in society to date, is all the more necessary. The legacy of racism was exposed in this piece by Scott-Heron, but another point is kind of repeated throughout, and it’s a call for whites to find their “own” revolution rather. It’s tricky, I would say, if young white activists at the time probably had levels of passion, but no output to actual understanding of anyone who was dark colored in America. Institutionalizing this racism was very much the problem, so who’s to say that they were the voice then? That a white man can speak for him? Of course the question repeated at the end is an evoking of Baraka’s, but it is true. It is the Apocalypse. The apocalypse of humanity and it’s color.