The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

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The R&B poet's socially aware signature song pitted the cultural awakening of the Civil Rights era against American consumerism. "The revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner," Scott Heron rapped, laying groundwork for the hip-hop emcees who would, in the words of Chuck D, "do what we do and how we do" because of him. First released in 1970 as a spare spoken word piece, the late Scott Heron’s best-known song was reworked as a rhythmic jazz tune featuring musical partner Brian Jackson’s butterfly-like flute. The song was not overtly militant, Scott Heron sometimes argued: "My songs were always about the tone of voice rather than the words," he once said.

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