Gil Scott-heron passed away on Friday May 27th at the age of 62. Scott was a musician who stood out as a visionary artist that helped form the groundwork of hip-hop. His music was transcendental and helped move along social justice for black Americans in a post-civil rights world. His music not only preached equality among men, but it helped define a generation of musicians seeking to break the mold and make a statement. The musician used minimalistic drum beats, spoken word poetry, and funk progressions to create a new form of music that hadn’t been heard till then, hip-hop.
With his most well known album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, Heron created a visionary work of proto-rap that brought together funk, jazz, and spoken word combinations that is still described by many as the first rap album. According to The Washington Post Heron had been battling HIV for years, but still put out an enormous catalog of work. He even had a troubling addiction with crack-cocaine that led to a stay in jail. This did not affect Heron’s career though, his last album was a collaboration with Jamie XX which was titled We’re Still Here, a reworking of Scott-Heron’s acclaimed album I’m New Here. The album was released in February 2010.
Not only did Scott-Heron aid in the civil rights of his brothers, but his music was also politically charged as well. He spoke out against nuclear arms, and the apartheid in South Africa. Throughout his career, he recorded well over a dozen albums, and wrote fiction and poetry. When he was 19 Heron published his first book which was a murder-mystery called The Vulture. The causes of his death are still unknown, but on behalf of all music enthusiasts out there, we thank you for all your visionary work in music, Mr. Scott-Heron. Read More
HIP HOP PAYS RESPECT:
Tributes have been pouring in from around the world from musicians and friends of the poet and music pioneer Gil Scott-Heron, who died on Friday at 62. Eminem, Talib Kweli and Snoop Dogg were among the rappers who acknowledged Mr. Scott-Heron’s early influence on hip-hop and black protest culture after hearing the news, according to BBC News. The cause of death was not immediately known, though The Associated Press reported that Mr. Scott-Heron had become ill after returning from a trip to Europe. Chuck D of Public Enemy posted on Twitter, “We do what we do and how we do because of you.” Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah wrote: “Salute Gil Scott-Heron for his wisdom and poetry! May he rest in paradise.” Eminem wrote on Twitter: “RIP Gil Scott-Heron. He influenced all of hip-hop.” Cee Lo Green recognized “the god Gil Scott,” while Talib Kweli said he “completely influenced me as an artist.” The politically outspoken rapper Michael Franti said Mr. Scott-Heron’s talent was his ability to “make us think about the world in a different way.” Richard Russell, who produced and released Mr. Scott-Heron’s final album, “I’m New Here in 2010,” described him as “a master lyricist, singer, orator and keyboard player.” Lemn Sissay, a friend of Mr. Scott-Heron’s who produced a documentary on his work, told the BBC that he was “a polymath” who “spoke crucially of the issues of his people.” NY Times
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