Gil Scott-Heron, one of the most influential musicians of our times, has died, aged 62.
He is reported to have died in a New York hospital having returned from Europe having fallen ill.
Arguably the inventor of rap and one of the true originals he leaves behind an unrivaled body of work and memories of gig performances that have swung from genius to interesting. With a political consciousness and a fierce intelligence his songs were wonderful social commentaries that were inspirational and powerful.
Scott-Heron himself rejected the ‘inventor of rap’ claim, stating “It might have been that there was music in certain poems of mine, with complete progression and repeating ‘hooks’ which made them more like songs than just recitations with percussion,”Â he wrote, in an introduction to a collection of poems, in 1990.
Instead, he referred to his work as “bluesology”Â or “black American music”Â.
Scott-Heron’s most recent album ‘I’m New Here’ (XL Recordings), released last year, was widely acclaimed and brought him to the attention of a new generation.
As news of his death was announced, modern artists including Chuck D of Public Enemy paid tributes.