Remembering the great Gil Scott-Heron

It’s a sad day when a great artist like Gil Scott-Heron dies. I was just pleased that he made one last album before he went. I Am New Here was my favourite from last year. Here’s Ben Sasario of the New York Times on Scott-Heron’s contribution to popular music:

Yet, along with the work of the Last Poets, a group of black nationalist performance poets who emerged alongside him in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Mr. Scott-Heron established much of the attitude and the stylistic vocabulary that would characterize the socially conscious work of early rap groups like Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions. And he has remained part of the DNA of hip-hop by being sampled by stars like Kanye West.

“You can go into Ginsberg and the Beat poets and Dylan, but Gil Scott-Heron is the manifestation of the modern word,” Chuck D, the leader of Public Enemy, told The New Yorker in 2010. “He and the Last Poets set the stage for everyone else.”