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GIL SCOT-HERON: New York Is Killing Me


MALCOLM GLADWELL:  Gil Scott-Heron is frequently called the “godfather of rap,” which is an epithet he doesn’t really care for. In 1968, when he was nineteen, he wrote a satirical, spoken-word piece called “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” It was released on a very small label in 1970. It is the species of classic that sounds as subversive and intelligent now as it did when it was new. Scott-Heron calls himself a bluesologist. He is sixty-one, tall and scrawny. Writer visits Scott-Heron at his apartment where he was watching a tape of the Rumble in the Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. “I like to see unbelievable odds because that’s what I’ve been facing all these years. When I feel like giving up, I like to watch this,” Scott-Heron said. Some of the people the writer spoke with said they preferred to remember Scott-Heron as he had been before he had begun avidly smoking crack. MORE

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