This is our truth, tell us yours
There are certain records that shape a movement, that take an idea and make it real. Sister Rosetta for instance, defining rock and roll with Strange Things. When I heard Wnter In America for the first time, I realised there could be more to rap than the SugarHill Gang.
The more I listened, themore I realised I was listening to spoken poetry. Other harder, less jazzy rap tracks came along, but the distinction was still there; the best of them were poetry set to music.
Winter in America was top of the pile forme, because it enhanced realism with metaphor, and spoke of a man who was comfortable with language and literature, not as a pretension or affectation but because he could engage a wider audience that way. Not a larger audience, necessarily, but wider.
I miss him.