R.I.P. Maggie Estep

The New York Times reports that Maggie Estep, a standout of the early-’90s spoken-word wave, died at home in Hudson, New York yesterday, after suffering a heart attack. She was 50. A high school dropout, the teenage Estep moved to New York and joined the punk scene, working as a stripper and getting hooked on heroin. Later, she studied poetry under William S. Burroughs at Naropa University and earned a degree from NYU. She became a regular at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, where the entire poetry-slam phenomenon was finding its feet, and she went on to perform at Lollapalooza and Woodstock ’94, as well as MTV’s Spoken Word Unplugged special and HBO’s Def Poetry. She released two albums where she talked over alt-rock accompaniment, and she went on to publish seven books. Below, check out her 1994 “Hey Baby” video.

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