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Birth of Hip Hop: Gill Scott-Heron

Other | Monday 18th July 2016 | Megan

Gill Scott-Heron was one of the most influential blues and jazz performers during the 70s and 80s and still is to this day.

Even though he passed away sadly 5 years ago, his legacy still lives on. Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1949, he grew up in The Bronx and after impressing his english teacher with his impeccable writing skills, he was offered a scholarship to The Fieldston School. He grew and grew and with his signature bold attitude that exudes through his recordings and poems, he was able to show the world his talents through the struggles he suffered. He’s heavily influenced by original blues artists and incorporated that in his art. After living in Jackson, Tennessee as a child, the deep south was embedded in his soul.

Being a late teen around the same time as the civil rights movement was in full force, he wrote the famous ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’. His poems were based on his anger - anger that showed his passion and need for change. This is one of his most well known poems and songs and is still used and sampled by other artist who he has influenced majorly.

He brought different political problems to the surface like the apartheid in Johannesburg in the early 80s with his song ‘Johannesburg’ which at the time was seen as extremely controversial. Hip Hop artists such as Public Enemy, Common and KRS-One have either sampled the beats or have used extracts of the poem ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’, itself in their tracks.

Throughout his career, he had spoke very openly about his heavy drug addiction and that adds to his authentic personality. A lot of his music and poems are still relevant to situations all over the world today, especially over the last few years in America with the unlawful killings of innocent black people which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

Political hip hop and rap will always be effluent and strong for as long as music continues to be produced. His poetry has influenced the whole slam poetry genre and has most probably moulded many poets out there today. Near the end of his life, he was still working on his art and released his last album called ‘I’m New Here’ in 2010. He worked a lot with DJ Jamie XX who remixed a lot of the tracks from that album into an album called We’re New Here.

His memoir that he had worked on for a very long time The Last Holiday was published posthumously in 2012. Through his friends, family and fans, his music still lives on strong and is making as of an impact as it did when he was alive. The revolution will never be televised…  

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Pieces Of A Man

Winter In America

Johannesburg

Whitey On The Moon

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