He was the man who invented rap, “the black Bob Dylan”. As lanky as a basketball player, he delivered jeremiads against racism and poverty, but with such nonchalant poise that he might have been a Harlem Globetrotter. Jazzy grooves and deft lyrics took his records into the pop charts in Britain and the United States. Alongside fellow music luminaries Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley, he successfully campaigned for the civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King to be recognised with a public holiday in the US.
But then something happened to Gil Scott-Heron. The records dried up. He stopped touring. He was arrested and jailed over possession of cocaine and rumours circulated about his health.
Continue reading to watch the second part of the interview, and click here to read the written version.