Scott-Heron, Gil

Scott-Heron, Gil, 1949–2011, American poet, musician, and songwriter, b. Chicago. Often considered the godfather of rap music , he rejected that title, preferring to call his work bluesology of simply black American music. He wrote poetry with a strong social, political, and racial content, which he spoke or sang to a strong percussive beat or other jazz or soul accompaniment. Scott-Heron became famous for his satiric spoken anthem The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1970), which made him a spokesman for African-American protest. He recorded more than a dozen albums, from Small Talk at 125th and Lenox (1970) to I'm New Here (2010); his clear, youthful voice roughened in later recordings due to alcoholism and drug addiction. Among his other well-known pieces are Lady Day and John Coltrane, The Bottle, Home Is Where the Hatred Is, and Johannesburg.

See his memoir (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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