Aloe Blacc: "Eugene McDaniels' album was banned by the Nixon administration" | #NAD 3 years ago

Aloe Blacc: "Eugene McDaniels' album was banned by the Nixon administration" | #NAD

A fan of reality music, one of Aloe Blacc's favourite albums was one the government didn't appreciate

Celebrating 70 years of the album format, today marks the very first National Album Day here in the UK.


Over the years music has gradually become a lot more disposable. It's a shame because it's true. More a promotional tool to plug a tour or help sell merchandise, it's very rare today that we see an artist who takes their time in crafting a complete body of work with the end result sounding as such.

We tend to listen to a new album for seven days and then Friday rolls around again and we're onto the next, and because of this we're in danger of losing the album forever.

Putting singles, playlists, EPs and mixtapes to the back of our minds for 24 hours, we caught up with singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc who shared his thoughts on the album and highlighted a complete body of work by someone he refers to as an artivist.


"I’m a fan of the album and I’m a fan of singles," says Aloe. "It's because I like making singles that don’t have to stand with a body of work, but also because I grew up with albums and making albums. I’m not so much a playlist kinda guy.

"A good album is gold. I loved what J Dilla and Slum Village would do on their albums where you couldn’t tell where one track ended and the other track started. That was brilliant to me. I always wanted to make albums that way."

After discussing the way in which Prince, Marvin Gaye and The-Dream all made albums, because of the way in which their tracks would roll from one into another, Aloe starts to name a few newer albums that have caught his attention as of late.


"I enjoyed the most recent one by Gregory Porter," he says referring to the jazz heavyweight's 2017 album, Nat King Cole & Me. "I also like the new Georgia Anne Muldrow album that she's about to put out, I got it early. She used to be on Stones Throw (the same record label as Aloe) for a small time. She has a new album called Overload coming in a couple of weeks."

Then tasking him to answer the ultimate question: what is your favourite album of all-time? He digs deeps into the archives and pulls out a gem.

"I think it would be Eugene McDaniels Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse," he explains. "We hear it sampled on a lot of 80s and 90s Hip Hop but it wasn’t very popular during its time because it was banned by the Nixon administration. 

"So Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegün, they got a call from the White House saying, 'You’ve got to stop promoting this record, take it off the shelves.' So the guy that wrote it basically lost his career. But it’s one of the best albums. It’s funk, jazz and soul from a psychedelic standpoint."


Explaining why it was banned by the President and his administration at the time, Aloe adds: "It was the lyrics. He was telling everything that was real, it was way too conscious. He was basically like a Gil Scott-Heron, and in my opinion a much better version. Gil Scott-Heron is great. Eugene McDaniels was better than great, he was brilliant.

"And in comparison to What’s Going On, it was 10 times more potent in terms of lyrical content. Instead of asking what’s going on? he was saying what’s going on and that’s the difference between artivism and just art. He was an artivist."

America’s Musical Journey featuring Aloe Blacc will play in select theatres across the United Kingdom. For a current list of theatres showing it click here.