Poets: Abiodun Oyewole, Umar Bin Hassan and Alafia Pudim
(Photo Doug Harris)
"The Last Poets are the seminal
whose respect has only grown as their genre's time had come."
- Don Williams Music Group, Inc.
"On May 16, 1969 -- Malcolm X's birthday -- they officially formed The Last Poets, adopting the name from the work of South African Little Willie Copaseely, who declared the era to be the last age of poets before the complete takeover of guns. After a performance on a local televison program, the group was signed by jazz producer Alan Douglas, who helmed their eye-opening eponymous debut LP in 1970. A collection condemning both white oppression ("White Man's Got a God Complex") and black stasis ("Niggas Are Scared of Revolution"), The Last Poets reached the U.S. Top 10 album charts, but before the group could mount a tour, Oyewole was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of robbery, and was replaced by percussionist Nilajah.
After the 1971 follow-up This Is Madness (which landed them on President Richard Nixon's Counter-Intelligence Programming lists), Hassan joined a southern-based religious sect; Jalal recruited former jazz drummer Suliaman El Hadi for 1972's Chastisement, which incorporated jazz-funk structures to create a sound the group dubbed "jazzoetry." Following the 1973 Jalal solo concept album Hustler's Convention (recorded under the alias Lightnin' Rod), the Last Poets issued 1974's At Last, a foray into free-form jazz; after its release, Nilajah exited..."
Above excerpted from material written by Jason Ankeny '
All-Music Guide 1999.
On A Mission: Selected Poems and a History of the Last Poets
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Foreword by Amiri Baraka
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt; 1st edition (December 9, 1996)
Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
by Abiodun Oyewole & Umar Bin Hassan
The Last Poets are enjoying a resurgence of popularity in the 1990s. They participated in the 1994 Lollapalooza tour; performed in John Singleton's "Poetic Justice", and recently released a new CD called Holy Terror. But who exactly are these renowned forefathers of rap music? And how have they inspired a new generation of performance poets to be more profound than profane? ON A MISSION: Selected Poems and A History of The Last Poets, an affecting combination of memoir and poetry, tells us for the first time.
My people are Black, beige, yellow
"My People" was then, and
still is, one of my favorite poems. I feel I have covered the strength, the tenderness,
the glory, the truth as well as an ideology that we as a people should work toward."
In ON A MISSION, two of the group's most consistent and integral members--Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan--share their accounts of the group's genesis and evolution. The personal statements that comprise the first half of the book are vivid, personal, revealing, and as hopeful as they are painful. The two men describe their childhoods and accomplishments, their mistakes and regrets. They reminisce about street life, drug abuse, jail terms, family relationships, and their affiliation with groups like the Harlem Committee for Self-Defense and the Black United Front. What emerges are two very powerful portraits of growing up Black in America. - Henry Holt and Company
1 - Chastisment/Freedom Express
2 - The Time Has Come
3 - The Best of the Prime Time Rhyme of the Last Poets, Vol. 2
4 - The Legend: The Best of the Last Poets
5 - The Best of the Prime Time Rhyme of the Last Poets
6 - Holy Terror
7 - Scattarap/Home
8 - Retro Fit
9 - Right On!
10 - Freedom Express
11 - Oh My People
12 - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
13 - Delights in the Garden
14 - Jazzoetry
15 - Chastisement
16 - This Is Madness
17 - The Last Poets 1st Album 1970)
18 - Get Movin'
19 - Mean Machin
20 - The Real Rap
21 - The Best of the Last Poets