Gil Scott-Heron was a poet and musician and one of the true godfathers of rap music. His poltically-charged, jazz-tinged speech-songs were totally unique and hugely influential. Scott-Heron had just made a terrific comeback album after a stint in prison for a controlled substances violation. He will be missed.
Here he is making fun of Ronald Reagan:
UPDATE: This piece from the New Yorker is a useful rundown on GS-H's career.