Often called the Godfather of Rap these days, Gil Scott-Heron in fact emerged as a fiercely eloquent voice from the urban wilderness in the early 1970s, mercilessly skewering political and social forces that had disenfranchised huge swaths of the population and were leading the world down a treacherous path. A writer first and an admirer of Langston Hughes, Scott-Heron eventually fused his own poetry with a potent dose of jazz laced with blues and R&B, railing against complacent media, an oblivious mainstream America, runaway consumerism, racism, venal politicians, and drug abuse. Pieces like "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," "Winter in America," "Johannesburg," and "Home Is Where the Hatred Is" hit like lightning bolts, both electrifying and enlightening. The rise of hip hop was clearly indebted to Scott-Heron, who has been sampled and referenced by the likes of Kanye West and Common. Silent for a decade and a half—during which he reportedly battled health, addiction, financial, and legal problems—Scott-Heron, 60,... More >>>