Nina Simone's music stirs the soul. I liken it to one awash in the Holy Spirit in a Baptist church on a Sunday morning. Her classical piano finesse infused with her jazzy and bluesy gospel voice is heard in all of her music, especially in all of her civil rights protest songs.
"Ready to Die" is a multifaceted masterpiece, but its driving force is Biggie's supplication for America to recognize a young black man wrought with the fear and rage of existing in a life rooted in continuing stagnation.
Gerald Nicosia is probably better known for his non-fiction, but he also is a real poet, very much in the San Francisco tradition of Ferlinghetti, Patchen, Rexroth and Ginsberg -- except those guys are now mostly gone.