P a g e | 1THE LAST POETSPLAY THE VIDEOTHE LAST POETSWORD 2 THA STREET WISEPART OFRBG Raptivist, RevolutionaryPoets, Playwrights and WritersStudies Collection
P a g e | 2THE LAST POETSHarlem, New York City, New York,United States (1968 – present)The Last Poets are a spoken word/poetry groupwhich formed in 1968 in Harlem, New York City,New York, United States.The Last Poets is a group of poets and musicianswho arose from the late 1960s Africans inAmerican civil rights and human rightsmovement’s black nationalist thread. Their name istaken from a poem by the South Afrikanrevolutionary poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, whobelieved he was in the last era of poetry beforeguns would take over.The original Last Poets formed on May 19, 1968(Malcolm X’s birthday), at Marcus Garvey Park(formerly Mount Morris Park, at 124th Street andFifth Avenue) in the East Harlem neighborhood ofNew York City. The original members wereFelipe Luciano, Gylan Kain, and David Nelson.The group continued to evolve via a 1969 Harlem writers’ workshop known as “East Wind.”Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, Umar Bin Hassan, and Abiodun Oyewole, along with percussionistNilaja, are generally considered the primary and core members of the group, as they appeared onthe group’s 1970 self-titled debut (contracted by noted Jimi Hendrix producer Alan Douglas)and, in various combinations, on subsequent releases. Other early East Wind alumni, however —Luciano, Kain, and Nelson — recorded separately as “The Original Last Poets,” gaining somerenown as the soundtrack artists for the 1971 film “Right On!”.
P a g e | 3THE LAST POETSHistoryThe original Last Poets were formed on May 19, 1968 (Malcolm Xs birthday), at MarcusGarvey Park in East Harlem.The group continued to evolve via a 1969 Harlem writers workshop known as East Wind. JalalMansur Nuriddin, Umar Bin Hassan, and Abiodun Oyewole, along with percussionist NilajaObabi, are generally considered the primary and core members of the group, as it appeared onthe groups 1970 self-titled debut LP and, in various combinations, on subsequent releases.Luciano, Kain, and Nelson recorded separately as The Original Last Poets, gaining some renownas the soundtrack artists of the 1971 film Right On! (See also Performance (1970 film)soundtrack song "Wake Up, Niggers".)Having reached US Top 10 chart success with its debut album, the Last Poets went on to releasethe follow-up, This Is Madness, without then-incarcerated Abiodun Oyewole. The albumfeatured more politically charged poetry that resulted in the group being listed under the counter-intelligence program COINTELPRO during the Richard Nixon administration. Hassan left thegroup following This Is Madness to be replaced by Suliaman El-Hadi (now deceased) in timefor Chastisment (1972). The album introduced a sound the group called "jazzoetry", leavingbehind the spare percussion of the previous albums in favor of a blending of jazz and funkinstrumentation with poetry. The music further developed into free-jazz–poetry with Hassansbrief return on 1974s At Last, as yet the only Last Poets release still unavailable on CD.
P a g e | 4THE LAST POETSThe remainder of the 1970s saw a slight decline in the groups popularity. In the 1980s andbeyond, however, the group gained renown with the rise of hip-hop music, often being name-checked as grandfathers and founders of the new movement, and themselves collaborating withBristol-based British post-punk band the Pop Group, among others. Nuriddin and El-Hadiworked on several projects under the Last Poets name, working with bassist and producer BillLaswell, including 1984s Oh My People and 1988s Freedom Express, and recording the final ElHadi-Nuriddin collaboration Scatterrap/Home in 1994.Suliaman El-Hadi died in October 1995. Oyewole and Hassan began recording separately underthe same name, releasing Holy Terror in 1995 (re-released on Innerhythmic in 2004) and TimeHas Come in 1997.Their lyrics often dealt with social issues facing African-American people. In the song "Rain ofTerror", the group criticized the American government and voiced support for the BlackPanthers.More recently, the Last Poets found fame again refreshed through a collaboration where the trio(Umar Bin Hassan) was featured with hip-hop artist Common on the Kanye West-produced song"The Corner," as well as (Abiodun Oyewole) with the Wu-Tang Clan-affiliated political hip-hopgroup Black Market Militia on the song "The Final Call," stretching overseas to the UK on songs"Organic Liquorice (Natural Woman)", "Voodoocore", and "A Name" with Shaka Amazulu the7th. The group is also featured on the Nas album Untitled, on the songs "You Cant Stop UsNow" and "Project Roach."Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, aka Lightning Rod (The Hustlers Convention 1973), recentlycollaborated with the UK-based poet Mark T. Watson (aka Malik Al Nasir) writing the forewordto Watsons debut poetry collection, Ordinary Guy, published in December 2004 by theLiverpool-based publisher Fore-Word Press. Jalals foreword was written in rhyme, and wasrecorded for release in 2008 in a collaborative album by Mark T. Watsons band, Malik & TheOGs, featuring Gil Scott-Heron, percussionist Larry McDonald, drummers Rod Youngs andSwiss Chris, New York dub poet Ras Tesfa, and a host of young rappers from New York andWashington, D.C. Produced by Malik Al Nasir, Lloyd Masset, Larry McDonald, and SwissChris, the albums Rhythms of the Diaspora; Vol. 1 & 2 are the first of their kind to unite thesepioneers of poetry and hip hop with each other.In 2010, Abiodun Oyowele was among the artists featured on the Welfare Poets produced CruelAnd Unusual Punishment, a CD compilation that was made in protest of the death penalty, whichalso featured some several current
P a g e | 5THE LAST POETSKain - The Blue GuerrillaThis solo album by Gylan Kain, one of theoriginal Last Poets -- before the group recordedfor Douglas Records -- is a study in angrypoetics, performance art, and killer presentation.Recorded and issued in the early 70s, The BlueGuerrilla is a freestyle set before such a thingwas even a dream. Kains one pissed-off cat,raging not only against the usual necessaryconcerns, but also against the stereotypes in hisown community. Free jazz-funk grooves onguitars, electric violins, a slew of drums, andghostly keyboards accompany his gorgeous anddisturbing ranting that is far from pointless. Fromthe opening ritual scarification of "I Aint Black,"with its free jazz approach and over-the-topscreaming, to the poignant indictment of "HarlemPreacher," to "Black Satin Amazon" and"Constipated Monkey," Kain is a hipster without a country, a street poet without an audience, anactivist without sympathy. And rather than succumb and stylize his thang to get his messageacross, he becomes angrier, slyer, slicker, less forgiving, and more insightful. Music is placedhere not as accompaniment, but as a framework for Kain to place his poetry in a context of the
P a g e | 6THE LAST POETSAfrican-American oral tradition and the Living Theatre. And he gives no quarter. This manmakes the Last Poets he left behind sound like schoolboys trying to sound pissed off. Kain wouldmake Gil Scott-Heron run away for fear of being exposed as the effete he became before heturned into an out-and-out drug addict. There arent any other records like this; this is the soundof the apocalypse, one that Amiri Baraka predicted and celebrated. Come to The System ofDantes Hell as narrated by Kain. Sit down, listen all the way though if you can; wake up. Theresa riot goin on.Review from Allmusic Guide by Thom JurekSource: http://ajbenjamin2beta.blogspot.com/2008/10/kain-blue-guerrilla.htmlThe album, to say the least, is an intense listening experience performed by a cat who must beone intense individual. Jurek does a decent job of capturing the essence of Kains one soloalbum. The music and words fit in with what his former Last Poets crew were doing at the time,although with more attention paid to musical arrangements - ranging from free jazz on theopening tracks to a cooler West Coast feel for much of the remaining album (though cooler hereis only a relative term - the music has an edge to it).To me the highlight of the album is the final track, "Look Out for the Blue Guerrilla." The tunestarts out with a basic keyboard-bass-drum backing that has that hazy weed-smoke-filled roomvibe to it as Kain drops these philosophical rhymes that build in intensity and religious imagery,with a travel-logue that sounds like Kains been channeling HST as he was writing Fear andLoathing in Las Vegas, or Oscar Zeta Acostas Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo. Certainly, thesong, like Thompsons and Acostas books, captures the rotten core of the "American Dream" - inKains case, laying out a vision of an America with machine guns on every corner, and endingwith a climax in which Kain and crew shout a warning to "Look Out For The Blue Guerrilla!"If you can dig on some Amiri Baraka-inspired second generation beat poetry, that takes on issuesof racism and oppression that are every bit as topical today as they were back in 1971, thisalbums for you. Last Poets fans should dig this. Ive heard his work described as “Holy RollerExistential Blues” and “Poetic Aggression”. Thats as good a description as any.Gylan Kain has kept busy since his falling out with the Last Poets and the recording of The BlueGuerrilla as a playwright, multimedia collaborations with Zev, and of course performing hispoetry both solo and with musical backing. Hes most recently appeared with jazz/hip-hop/fusionartists Electric Barbarian since 2003, appearing on their 2004 album él. and Minirock from theSun."Friday night began with a sound collective called Electric Barbarian, with electric bassist andleader Floris Vermeulen, and featuring a headphone-wearing trumpeter who kept one hand on hismixer, a turntablist named Grazzhoppa and a drummer prone to mock bodybuilder poses. Afteran opening instrumental with washes of sound and a pseudo tribal beat, Gylan Kain, one of thefounding members of the Last Poets, wailed and ranted his piece about "My Niggaz" withtextured accompaniment. At one point he came out into the audience and recited in the face of anaudience member who was moved to get up and leave, but not before Kain followed the poor
P a g e | 7THE LAST POETSman up the aisle. "Kicking Mickey Mouse in his house", indeed.""These songs are solidly driven on a simple harmonious basis and are underlayed by FlorisVermeulens melodious bass, which gives the whole thing soul." (...) "Vocal contributions arelaid on top of this instrumental foundation. Kain is especially fascinating. His poems are visual,difficult to pin down in the beginning, but are delivered as pure spoken word, with a flow whichmost MCs can only dream of."Gylan Kain is in my opinion one of those writers and artists who deserves far more recognitionthan hes received. The recorded material hes contributed to Electric Barbarians albums thisdecade (along with accounts of his performances at their gigs) has certainly been tantalizing.Given the dearth of recorded material available by Gylan Kain, that hes had any influence on thesubsequent direction of underground rap is a minor miracle. Some of the more direct evidencecomes from KMDs magnum opus, Bl_ck B_st_rds (maybe one of these days Ill re-up that one).In the meantime, "look out for the Blue Guerrilla."PLAY VIDEOKAIN
P a g e | 8THE LAST POETSSource: http://kaganof.com/kagablog/category/contributors/kain/