Tributes are pouring in for famed writer and music critic, Greg Tate, following his death. He was 64 years old.
Considered a major cultural force and a pioneer of hip-hop journalism, Tate was celebrated for analyzing black art and influence throughout his career and for chronicling the birth of hip-hop as it happened.
He was also a founding member of the artists’ collective and non-profit organization, the Black Rock Coalition, and leader of the Burnt Sugar ensemble.
Tate’s death was confirmed by a representative of Tate’s publisher, Duke University Press, by Fork. The cause of death has not been confirmed at this time.
Jazz critic Nate Chinen also confirmed Tate’s death on social media on December 7, paying tribute to the “fiercely original critical voice”.
“Absolutely disgusted to hear (from a reliable source) that Greg Tate has left this dimension,” Chinen tweeted.
“What a hero he has been – a fiercely original critical voice, a profound musician, an encouraging big brother to so many of us. A total shock.”
Tate’s illustrious career began in New York in the Voice of the village in 1987 where he became one of the publication’s most recognized writers and was dubbed “one of the godfathers of hip-hop journalism” by the hip-hop publication Source.
“rip greg tate…impossible to imitate though we’ve all tried…a giant, kind hearted person, the truest…wrote this in 2016 and could have easily written 100,000 words more about his influence on us,” tweeted writer Hua Hsu.
While Jelani Cobb of New Yorker also paid tribute to Tate and his impact.
“Hard to explain the impact Flyboy in the Buttermilk has had on a whole generation of young writers and critics who read every page of it like scripture. It’s still a clinic on literary genius. Godspeed, Greg Tate”, Cobb wrote.
Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Saul Williams shared an anecdote about Tate, tweeting: “My first gig at CBGB, my band was getting ready for sound check, Greg Tate walks in with his guitar and amp , walks straight onto the stage and plugs in. He looks me straight in the eye, ‘You know I’m in your band, right? You don’t travel through space without me.’ & That was it.”
Philosopher Cornel West also shared a moving tribute to Tate and his genius.
“I am devastated by the loss of my dearest brother Greg Tate! He was a great warrior of love, an intellectual titan and a spiritual genius whose deep commitment and compassion for black people and black culture was absolute! We will never forget it!” he wrote.