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Gil Scott-Heron

Biography

Jazz and R&B-infused street poet Gil Scott-Heron is considered to be one of the godfathers of rap but while his impressive baritone adds weight to his often politically charged poems, he's also able to kick in with a robust, Lou Rawls-style singing voice. Heron's early albums with Brian Jackson were Jazz-Funk affairs that had a greater connection to the radical FM rock of the early 1970s than to most R&B of the day. But by the middle of that decade, Heron's voice and material were strong enough to get airtime on urban airwaves, and he scored hits with "The Bottle" and "Johannesburg." He was mostly quiet during the 1980s and 1990s, even as his original, multigenre mix of songs and spoken word were embraced by the British Acid Jazz generation. After struggling with drug addiction for several years, he made a triumphant return in 2010 with I'm New Here. The album proved to be his farewell, and he died the following year at the age of 62.
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