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Gil Scott-Heron Passes Away at 62

Gil Scott-Heron, the critically acclaimed spoken word poet, bluesman and activist passed away today in a New York hospital at the age of 62. Although he had success earlier in his career with black militant anthems like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and “Whitey on the Moon”, his largest accomplishment was probably his influence on hip-hop, being commonly referred to as the “Godfather of Rap”. He inspired the birth of the genre with his fusion of political and social expression via spoken-word over minimal percussion.

Upon his death, Public Enemy’s Chuck D said 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 paid tribute to “the god Gil Scott”, while Talib Kweli said he “completely influenced me as an artist”.

Gil Scott-Heron’s most recent album, the 2010 release “I’m New Here” was his first album after a 16 year hiatus from the record business. The album was his biggest commercial success, with the now ironically titled track “New York Is Killing Me” inspiring artists like Jaime XX, Nas and Kayne West to sample the material throughout 2011. Jaimie XX remixed the entire “I’m New Here” album and released it under the name “We’re New Here”. Kanye West sampled Heron on “Lost in the Woods”, a track with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.

The cause of death is not currently public but Gil was known to be HIV positive and struggling with various types of drug addiction throughout his life. RIP.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Gil Scott-Heron

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New York Is Killing Me Gil Scott-Heron

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New York Is Killing Me (Jaime XX Remix) Gil Scott-Heron

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Lost In The Woods]

Kayne ft Bon Iver and Gil Scott Heron Lost In The Woods