... hits the streets tomorrow. It’s called “Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations.” Its lineup of guest stars includes Prince, Andre 3000, Jill Scott, Gerald Levert, KRS-One, Talib Kweli and Chuckii Booker.
Before you get too excited about those first two names, you should know there’s a little recycling going on. Prince’s track, “Dear Mr. Man,” comes from his “Musicology” album, with Prof. West overdubbing some grateful words of introduction. And Andre’s “Chronomentrophobia” is on the “Idlewild” soundtrack.
I’m streaming a 7-minute portion of the official promotional sampler for “Never Forget” (including the Prince-song intro). Click here to hear it.
I must confess: I bought Prof. West’s first CD in 2001, but I never listened to it all the way through. Still, I admire the man’s funkdafied spirit.
When I interviewed him in the early ’90s for the Washington Post, Prof. West talked about the importance of music in his life. He attended Sacramento’s Shiloh Baptist Church as a kid. “Sly Stone used to play the organ for us, so we had some serious music, man. He didn’t stay a long time, he went to San Francisco right away. But he used to be there.”
Cornel West was also drawn to the orbit of the local Black Panthers. “One thing I liked about the Panthers was, they appreciated black music,” he said. “Which is something that I think the Nation of Islam is deeply in need of. You can’t have no movement among black people without a hymnal or some music, see.”
It’s interesting to note that Prof. West, on this new album, drops the N-word. I’ll leave you with his spoken words from the track “911”:
“[F]or analytical purposes, to be a nigger in America is to be unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hated. Since 9-11 the whole nation has been niggerized. A blues nation must now learn from a blues people how to deal with such conditions.”