Perhaps best known to the general public as the artist behind "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Scott-Heron's poetry was militant, a call to arms for black Americans and an unsettling warning to white folks, who still benefit
Although he never quite became a household name, there is not a rapper or new R&B/soul artist who is not indebted to Scott-Heron. In the end, he succumbed to the very injustices he decried, struggling with drug addiction and HIV for many years. Despite this, he continued to perform, record and inspire until the end of his life.
A list of artists directly inspired by Scott-Heron would be too long to list, but would include artists like Public Enemy, Eminem, Mos Def, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Common, to name just a few. Scott-Heron changed the course not only of popular music but of political discourse in America, setting a model of self-expression for generations of disenfranchised men and women.