Attempting to document Gil Scott-Heron's life and career in the space of a few hundred words is an exercise in futility, so I direct you when this piece is finished to somewhere on the internet for a biography. What you need to know right now is that the adopted New Yorker is widely credited with laying the foundations in the 1970's for what would become hip-hop, coined the phrase 'The Revolution will be televised' and was an uncompromising voice of radical American politics in the Watergate era. In recent years however he'd increasingly existed more like a character from one of his own stories of urban struggle: twice imprisoned for drugs offences, he's also faced speculation around domestic violence and the possibility that he may be HIV positive.

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