His slam on 70s society was so powerful as to give us one of today’s most ubiquitous journalistic clichés. He was a sharp political analyst, tireless militant for civil rights and the inspiration to a surprisingly wide spectrum of artists.
I was rarely so disappointed as when I read of his arrest in 2001 and ensuing decade of drug problems. Having sung for most of his career about the ravage of widespread drug-abuse in inner-city communities, seeing him eventually fall into the ugly trap of crack-cocaine felt like a personal betrayal.
Despite (or perhaps because of) all that, his last album, released only a couple months ago, was one of his most powerful. It will probably be one of the best album released in 2011 by any artist, dead or alive.
RIP Gil Scott-Heron