Gil Scott-Heron died on May 27 at the age of 62.  He died in New York City. The cause of death has not yet been released.

Many credit Scott-Heron for inventing the rap genre (an attribution he himself denies), likely because he was indeed the first well-known singer to rap.  Below are his 5 top songs, which showcase the rap genre in its earliest form.

1. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Scott-Heron’s blockbuster hit and defining piece of work.  It criticized the incipient commercialism that began to dominate the American media and society.

2. Whitey on the Moon

Scott-Heron details the poverty of African-Americans and contrasted that to the billions the US government spent on its space program to put someone on the moon.

3. The Bottle

Scott-Heron laments on the detrimental influence of alcohol abuse, especially on the Africa-American community.

4. On Coming from a Broken Home

A song from Scott-Heron’s ‘comeback’ album in 2010. He pays tribute to the important role female relatives played in his life.

5. Rivers of My Fathers

A song that explores the cultural roots of African-Americans.