Gil Scott-Heron

A week before Gil Scott-Heron's death on May 27 at 62, I recorded a guest vocal on a remix of his song "Third World Revolution." I was honored, of course. I first met Gil when we appeared on a CBS Morning News show in 1988. I'm typically quiet in the presence of royalty--musical or otherwise--so I just listened carefully that time and on the few occasions we got together after that.

Obviously, Gil's art, music and opinion formed a basis for rap music. His performances, with their ad-lib-lecture-poet-style commentary, were like his own onstage play-by-play. And though he didn't like to...

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