Photograph of American musician, songwriter, and writer Gil Scott-Heron.

Gil Scott-Heron

(1949 - 2011)

Often cited as the godfather of rap, Gil Scott-Heron learned to play piano at his grandmother’s behest to perform hymns for her sewing circle. While still enrolled at Lincoln University, where Langston Hughes had attended college, he went to New York City in 1969, bringing with him his first novel, The Vulture, which was published in 1970, the same year his poetry collection and album both appeared with the same title, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox. A year before his death at the age of sixty-two in 2011, Scott-Heron said, of often being credited with the creation of hip-hop, “I don’t know if I can take the blame for it.”

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