Yet another one you can put in the "I thought they were already dead?" file. Sad thing is he wasn't even that old so it's a shame that there I was killing him off. It's a bigger shame that he had to be the third one to pass in this most recent celebrity death trio.
Renown poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron died in a New York hospital after becoming ill shortly after a return trip from Europe. Cause of death has not yet been announced although he had made it known in 2008 that he had been suffering from HIV for years. He was 62-years-old.
I can't even front like a huge poetry aficionado. I really am not. I only know some of the work of some of the greats out here because many of them have been sampled in one way or another. That's why some folks were just getting hip to Heron. Thanks to a sample that Kanye used on his latest cd last year. That was all fine and good that the young bucks were just now getting schooled on him, but us old fogies knew he had been around forever.
My first introduction to Gil's work would have been when Public Enemy was making it big on the scene in the mid to late 80s. A constant theme they often used was "the revolution will not be televised". They even sampled Heron's work so you knew where they got it from. If I was fully thinking, I would have done a little more research on him and checked out more of his work. Unfortunately, I never did.
Had I looked more into the brotha I would have found that there was a good reason Gil Scott-Heron would later become known as the godfather of rap. That's because he started mixing poetry with music before rap artists even thought about it. In fact, since many of his poems were politically charged, he was an even bigger influence on a group like Public Enemy who would later be the leading voices in political rap that made an impact on the hip-hop genre.
You look around today and everybody thinks they can be a poet. Much like the photography game, but I digress. Folks think because they throw out a couple of clever metaphors that they're doing something. They could learn a lot from a legend like Gil Scott-Heron who did more than move us with his words. He moved cultures. Us old school hip-hop heads will always thank him for that.
Rest in peace, Godfather.