Owens died Monday of heart and renal failure.
An unapologetic liberal, Owens represented the New York City borough of Brooklyn, and served in the New York state Senate from 1974 to 1982 before his election to Congress.
He was known as "The Rapping Rep" for putting politically-inspired poetry to rap beats for the Congressional Record and on his member website. The Washington online newspaper Roll Call called it "an appropriate form of expression, perhaps, for a man whose district helped give birth to hip hop."
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