Gil Scott-Heron RIP

GIL SCOTT-HERON, 62, who helped create the groundwork for rap by fusing minimal percussion, political diatribe and spoken-word on songs such as “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” died Friday after becoming sick upon returning from a European trip. He had long fought a battle against drug addiction. Scott-Heron recorded his most famous song for his debut album on the Flying Dutchman label, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox Adele's in Harlem in the ‘70s. He recorded more than a dozen albums, many with musician Brian Jackson, including nine for Arista Records from 1975-'82, where Clive Davis personally signed him. His performance of "We Almost Lost Detroit" in No Nukes is one of the film's searing highlights. His most recent, I’m New Here, for Adele's XL Recordings label, came out last year. Scott-Heron referred to his music as "bluesology" or Third World music before calling it simply "black American music." Throughout his musical career, he took on political issues, including apartheid in South Africa and nuclear arms. He had been shaped by the politics of the '60s and the black literature of the Harlem Renaissance. Scott-Heron was born in Chicago on April 1, 1949, then raised in Jackson, TN, and in New York before attending college at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Before turning to music, he was a novelist, at age 19, with the publication of The Vulture, a murder mystery. He also wrote The Nigger Factory, a social satire. (5/28a)

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