Musician and writer Gil Scott-Heron passed away Friday afternoon in New York. He was 62.
Gil Scott-Heron was born in Chicago, but reared in Jackson, Tennessee. He spent his teens in the Bronx and later received his Masters in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University.
One of his earliest singles, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” from the 1970 album Small Talk at 125th & Lennox, is still widely referenced in both hip-hop and popular culture. He is often credited with being a founding figure in hip-hop. Part poet, part musician, and part political activist, he has a huge catalogue of recordings ranging from spoken-word to jazz to hip-hop and everything in between.
In 1978 he recorded “Angel Dust,” which peaked at #15 on the R&B charts, and he performed at the No Nukes concerts at Madison Square Garden in 1979. In the 1980s, Scott-Heron also toured with saxophonist Ron Holloway.
His last album, I'm New Here, was released in 2010 to rave reviews, and you can stream it here.
The cause of death remains unknown, although Scott-Heron revealed in a 2008 interview he had contracted HIV during his well-known struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.
To read some of his writings in remembrance, go here to check out a piece he wrote for Ebony in 1975.
A 2009 interview with him is posted here at LA RECORD.com.
Rest in peace to one of our great poets and the progenitor of hip hop.