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Review: Gil Scott-Heron, ‘I’m New Here’

SPIN Rating: 7 of 10
Release Date: February 09, 2010
Label: XL

While author/poet/activist/proto-rapper Gil Scott-Heron hasn’t released an album in 13 years, I’m New Here isn’t so much a comeback as a testament to spiritual resilience. After serving a bid at Riker’s on drug charges, Scott-Heron was released in 2007, and his weathered voice has fissured in all the right places: It meshes with his own skeletal piano for “I’ll Take Care of You,” matches the darkness of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil,” and shines through the industrial gloom of “Where Did the Night Go.” On the Smog-penned title track, he sounds both worldly-wise and reborn.