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Gil Scott-Heron: Forefather of Rap

Gil Scott-Heron: Forefather of Rap

Hear an interview and performance from WFUV

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Just the Music

'95 South'

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'We Almost Lost Detroit (excerpt)'

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'Three Miles Down'

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Although he's been absent from the public consciousness for some time, Gil Scott-Heron hasn't disappeared, nor been silent. He's written and performed recently, but he's also done a couple of stints behind bars on drug convictions. He is, as you will hear, unrepentant and somewhat addled, but still outspoken and relevant.

The vintage Gil Scott-Heron photograph on the cover of Ghetto Style, which compiles tracks from his first three albums in the early '70s. Courtesy of BMG hide caption

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Courtesy of BMG

Scott-Heron was somewhat of an icon in my hometown; I grew up in Michigan and was chilled by his song "We Almost Lost Detroit." In this new studio session, he sings movingly about the mining industry. His health may be shaky, but his convictions remain rock-solid.

More About Gil Scott-Heron

Since writing poetry as a teenager and making his first foray into songs on 1970's Small Talk at 125th & Lenox, Gil Scott-Heron's fusion of message and music has influenced countless activists and artists. His aggressive, political street poetry — especially the funk-based anthem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" — inspired the earliest rappers.

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Ghetto Style

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

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