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MAY 28, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

The death of poet-musician Gil Scott-Heron is sobering milestone. He was younger than me, reminding me yet again of the ticking of the clock. He is indelibly imprinted in my heart as the voice of an era when, for better and for worse, we thought the country was on the verge of a revolution. Not that we had a clue of what that meant or might have led to.

If you haven't heard The Revolution Will Not Be Televised recently, listen.

Scott-Heron is seen by many as a major influence on rap music, a connection he was never comfortable with.

He offered advice to young rappers in this 1994 song Message to the Messengers.

Forgotten by most of us in recent years, he kept performing and recording, his poetry and humor intact. His voice lost some of its velvety richness but remains unmistakable.

Here's one of his last songs, I'm New Here (2010).

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