Gil Scott-Heron, the spoken-word artist and musician often hailed as the godfather of hip-hop and made famous by "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," has died at age 62, reports NPR. Scott-Heron was held up as a major influence by many in the hip-hop community, including Kanye West, who closed his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with an homage to Scott-Heron. "You can go into the beat poets and [Allen] Ginsberg and [Bob] Dylan, but Gil Scott-Heron is the manifestation of the modern world," rapper Chuck D. once said. "He and the Last Poets set the stage for everyone else."
Scott-Heron rose to prominence in 1970 with the album, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, and continued to record into the early '80s. He resurfaced in 1994 with Spirits, but the LA Times notes that he spent much of the 2000s wrestling with drug addiction. A New Yorker profile published last year found him openly smoking crack. "He wasn't a great singer, but with that voice, if he had whispered it would have been dynamic," bassist Ron Carter told the New Yorker. "It was a voice like you would have for Shakespeare." (Read more Gil Scott-Heron obituary stories.)