From a 2015 Review: The Last Poets by Nathan McIlroy, The Project
The Last Poets have long been regarded as the forefathers of Hip Hop. After forming on Malcolm X’s birthday in 1968, they became the credible soundtrack to the burgeoning Black Power movement and have not relented in promoting their message of higher consciousness since. At the time, the Nixon regime encouraged the FBI to watch them closely and their insurrectionary songs and unashamed black pride, terrified most of the white music press. Despite the mechanisations of both the music industry and state working against them, their self-titled debut entered the top ten and the group entered the history books.
Tonight sees original members Umar Bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole recite tracks from throughout their career, backed by percussionist Don Babatunde Eaton who has played with this line up for over two decades….
Setting the scene with the heartbeat, Don Babatunde Eaton is an effortless player whose rhythms are an extension of his body and soul. He lays down a tribal rhythm on his congas as the two rappers pay homage to previous members of the group who have passed on or who ‘no longer answer the phone no more’ as is the case with Jalal Mansur Nuriddin. Nuriddin, or Lightnin’ Rod as he’s also known, was the other founding member who reconciled with the group in 2008 after years of bitterness which saw him stabbing Hassan in the throat in the early 90’s. Infighting isn’t rare between musicians but the lack of bitterness and genuine love and respect shown during this segment denotes a tender wisdom that is also evident in their lyrics which are as passionate as they are cerebral.
|Actor||She Speaks, He Speaks, Generations Speak: Black Words Matter||2020-21 Season|