Black Wax (1983)
Gil Scott-Heron, one of rap’s earliest (and unfortunately unknown) pioneers, gets his full due in Black Wax, the 1982 documentary recently reissued on video. Interspliced between performance footage of Scott-Heron and his Midnight Band are vignettes of him walking around Washington D.C., spouting his views on then-President Reagan (dubbed “Ray-Gun”) and generally dropping knowledge. The live performance features many of Scott-Heron’s best-known hits, including “Johannesburg,” “Winter in America,” and “Angel Dust,” among others. Warm, intelligent, and insightful throughout, Scott-Heron is clearly enjoying himself and the opportunity to espouse his views. A must for any fan of Scott-Heron’s, and definitely worth a look for fans of the funkier jazz music of the mid to late 1970’s.