Often called the grandfathers of hip-hop, The Last Poets are one of the defining acts that emerged from the 1960s Black Arts Movement in America. Their line-up of members has shifted a few times since their founding in 1968, the most well-known being that consisting of Jalal Mansur Nuriddina aka Alafia Pudim (d. 2018), Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyowele and Sulaiman El-Hadi (d. 1995) along with Nilaja Obabi (d. 1981) on percussion.
Despite this, their commitment to ‘raising African-American consciousness’ has remained constant, with a performance style and innovative use of language and rhythm that arguably laid the groundwork for everything from hip-hop to today’s slam scene. The members were less active after 1999, excepting intermittent appearances on hip-hop albums and compilations, but Oyowele and Bin Hassan have more recently been getting back into action alongside percussionist Baba Donn Babatunde. In 2018 they released the album ‘Understand What Black Is’, proving that they retain the ability to speak to the politics of race and oppression in their signature style even five decades on.
The Last Poets’ Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/The-LAST-POETS/