Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Me and the Devil
Kai's SONG OF THE WEEK: "Gil Scott-Heron released his new album I'm New Here on independent label XL Recordings on February 9, 2010. Produced by XL label owner Richard Russell, I'm New Here is Scott-Heron's first studio album in sixteen years. The pair started recording the album in 2007, with the majority of the record being recorded over the last twelve months with engineer Lawson White at Clinton Studios in New York. Some have called the record “reverent” and “intimate” due to Scott-Heron’s half-sung, half-talked delivery of his poetry. “I’m New Here” is 28 minutes long with 15 tracks. However, casual asides and observations collected during recording sessions are also included as interludes. The album attracted substantial critical acclaim with The Guardian newspaper's Jude Rogers declaring it one of the next decade's best records.
The first single from the album was "Me And The Devil", which was released on February 22, 2010. It was debuted by BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe as his "Hottest Record In The World", along with other specialist DJs such as Gilles Peterson and Benji B. The album's remix, We're New Here, was released in 2011, featuring reworking by English music producer Jamie xx of material from the original album. It was also very well received by music critics."(Wiki) (Lyrics)
Drive slow, Homie, those are the words I whisper to myself while driving these days, especially if it’s late at night because I hate getting pulled over. I have completely modified my driving in the last six months. I used to speed. I used to drive in the carpool lane alone and I was quick to blow my horn at those cars that irked me with their timidness, but now I drive slow, Homie. Still I seem to get pulled over more and more. I was given a ticket a couple of weeks ago for making a right turn on a green light while the walk sign was up (but there weren’t any people crossing). The cop asked me, “What if someone had run out into the street?” What if… I asked him for a warning and he said “Sorry, I didn’t pull you over to give you a warning, but you should just take it to court and contest it.” Thanks.
I headed up to the Bay Area to reconnect with my hometown, a place I haven’t lived since I was 15. Things have really changed and stayed the same. I see the new uptown is booming while East Oakland, where I come from and where my mother still lives… well, I see struggle and sorrow in the eyes of my people there. I see crack and other substances still taking their toll. I see babies walking the stroll and police watching (like me, but not…). What is their job here? To keep us in our place...And if you forget…they will help you find your way home…
Sirens flash and I’m heading back to Alameda (I’m staying with my cousin in Alameda while I’m here). I pull over. Confused because I know that I wasn’t going 1 mile over the 25mph speed limit because the last time I was in Alameda I got a speeding ticket for going 37mph (I feel that if I’m going to be cited for speeding then damn let me really be speeding…) I pull over. A bright light flashes. Then the same bright remains, lighting up my car from behind. I feel the light behind my head, cold and as dark as it is bright. Blinding my eyes and I am afraid. For ten minutes I sit with this light on me, wondering what next. I dare not open the door and ask. Should I pull out my registration from the glove box? No, no sudden movements. They might think you’re pulling out a weapon. My heart is racing because I know that I have followed all the traffic laws yet and still here I am again under the gaze of some white male officer who shines his unwanted light on me. He finally comes over and I realize why I got pulled over and the person tailgating behind me didn’t… “Where are you going? Where are you coming from? What are you doing here in Alameda? What’s the address of your cousin’s place?” I didn’t know the exact address so I gave some cross streets and then he asked me more about the area. Eventually he told me that I had a headlight out and that’s why he pulled me over, but really it is clear that I was simply out of place. My Black body in my black Acura with a spoiler was out of place and he needed to remind me (One of my besties tells me I should get a bike rack to make my car less Black. I was thinking to get an I <3 Police sticker;-).
“So if you see the vulture coming/ flying circles in your mind/ remember their is no escaping/ for he will follow close behind./ only promise me a battle/ a battle/ for your soul and mind/ and mine/ and mine”
What is freedom? The ability to move if and when you want to.
What is home? A space that holds all of who you are without question. I’m discovering home in Oakland. Spending time and sharing space with family and friends. Folks that I only knew via Facebook have shown up in real life. And I am grateful because I needed to be reminded that I am always held and always loved wherever I go. I find home when I find my people. It’s simple—like a hug gentle and firm all at once. It’s a smile. It’s a song shared that moves in the space between you and me, filling in the gaps. It’s recognition of the impossible existing right in front of your eyes—the person who got free and still struggles to get free everyday. I’m thankful for you and your courage and your will to live and create a beautiful life. My friends, my people, my loved ones from LA to the Bay and all over—I appreciate you.
Home is what you make
Love, make peace love, make me free
We together, here