[In Which We Wonder About the Worth of a Man.]
Gil Scott-Heron, known alternately as the Grandfather of Hip-hop and that guy that Kanye sampled on “Who Will Survive in America”, has passed away today. He was too young, just shy of 63.
Scott-Heron was an exceptional artist. Uncompromising and compassionate. Full of fire and alive with a heart that beat anger and mercy and intelligence. His words could embrace and lacerate in equal measure, and his voice met and matched them in gravitas and fury.
I’m not sure what I feel today. Gratitude for a literary and musical giant. Sadness that his life and work was cut so short. Scott-Heron was, to me, the heir apparent to the legacy of Langston Hughes, in both a literal and worldly sense, and in my own creative growth.
I cannot express my appreciation for the often troubled road he walked down and bravely illuminated. Regardless of how he died, what is most important is the life that he lived and the words he’s left.
[They sent a limousine from heaven to take him to god, if there is one.]