Great Scott

You can hate Kanye West's ego, but you can't quibble with his influences. Recently, the much-maligned rapper and producer announced his return to the studio after his Taylor Swiftus interruptus-influenced hiatus. Noting the responsibility of artists to document the struggles of the times, he name checked Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, and Gil Scott-Heron, the legendary spoken-word artist whom Black Pearl Poetry is bringing to the Valley.

Most well known for his piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and giving voice to the political consciousness spurred by the civil rights movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Heron's appearance on a day honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. is appropriate, considering the wordsmith's campaign with Stevie Wonder in 1980 to make it a national holiday. Backed by a three-piece band, the poet will delve into a decades-long discography as well as his first new album in 13 years entitled I'm New Here.

Mon., Jan. 18, 6:30 & 9 p.m., 2010