Poet, musician and the ‘godfather of rap’, Gil Scott-Heron passed away on Friday at the age of 62 years.
The world of music and especially of rap lost one of its greatest musicians today, as Gil Scott-Heron passed away at the age of 62. He died on Friday afternoon at St. Luke’s Hospital after becoming sick upon his return from Europe. The exact cause of his death is not known yet.
Gil Scott-Heron was considered as person who lay the groundwork for rap by fusing minimalistic percussion, political expression and spoken-word poetry. He was sometimes referred to as the ‘godfather of rap’, but this was a title which he rejected every time.
In the introduction of his book ‘Now and Then’, Gil Scott-Heron wrote; "If there was any individual initiative that I was responsible for it might have been that there was music in certain poems of mine, with complete progression and repeating 'hooks,' which made them more like songs than just recitations with percussion,".
Gil Scott-Heron was known best for his song ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ which made waves in the music industry in the 1970s. The song basically criticized the mass media. He referred to his signature mix of music as bluesology or Third World music, but he later started calling it ‘black music or black American music’. He wrote in his book, "Because Black Americans are now a tremendously diverse essence of all the places we've come from and the music and rhythms we brought with us."
Gill Scott-Heron inspired many people in the music industry to follow his footsteps and sample his music including Kayne West. He released more than a dozen albums, also collaborating with different artists including musician Brian Jackson. Gill Scott-Heron started working on his most recent album titled ‘I’m New Here’ in 2007 and it was released in 2010.
Gill Scott-Heron’s music was with a cause as he took on political issues of his time to be portrayed in his music. He was mostly shaped with the politics of the 1960s and the black literature. Some of the major events depicted in his music include the apartheid in South Africa and the nuclear arms race.
Gill Scott-Heron was also remained a drug addict through most of his life and was even jailed in the 2000s for illegal cocaine possession.
We offer our condolence to the family of Gill Scott-Heron.