#RIP: Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron:
1st April 1949 – 27th May 2011

with sadness we note the death of one of modern music’s most talented, truthful and troubled writers and performers.

anima eius et animae omnium
fidelium defunctorum per dei
misericordiam requiescant in pace

Gil was born in Chicago, but raised in first Jackson, Tennessee, then the Bronx. his writing was impressive from an early age, winning him a scholarship to exclusive New York prep school Fieldston. from there he went on to Lincoln University, following in the footsteps of his idle Langston Hughes. he never completed his degree, but instead left in order to write, both poetry and prose, full-time – a move which lead to the publication of two acclaimed novels, The Vulture and The Nigger Factory.

in 1970, he began a recording career that would span five decades and produce some of modern jazz and soul’s most memorable cuts. from the raw beat poetry and proto-rap of his early records, to the smoother soul of his later collaborations with Brian Jackson, a constant thread in his music was his political insight and his insistence on speaking truth to power.

in a cruel twist of irony, GSH spent most of his life battling with a hard-drug addiction of the sort that reflected the very socio-economic issues that his music highlighted. in his later years, as his health declined, he also spent several stretched in prison for possession of cocaine and drug-related violations of parole.

he will be sorely missed and remembered as a prophetic voice that knew all too well the effects of the evils against which it spoke.

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Home Is Where The Hatred Is by Gil Scott-Heron

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