Coming out of the poverty-stricken ghetto of Harlem, New York City, USA in the mid-60s, there are many who claim the Last Poets to be the first hip-hop act proper. Originally comprising David Nelson, Gylan Kain and Abiodun Oyewole, the Last Poets formed on 19 May 1969 (Malcolm X’s birthday), the informal line-up grew to include Felipe Luciano, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin aka Alafia Pudim (Gene Dinwiddie), Omar Bin Hassan (aka Umar Bin Hassan – as with other personnel name alterations occurred frequently) and Sulieman El-Hadi. They took their name from a poem by South African poet Willie Kgositsile.
Their legacy, that of the innovative use of rap/talk over musical backing, bore obvious fruit in the new generation of hip-hop acts to surface in the early 80s. Nuriddin and El-Hadi re-formed the Last Poets in 1984. The long-players Oh! My People and Freedom Express followed as the Last Poets reaped the benefits of their legendary status. In 1993 Hassan released the solo album Be Bop Or Be Dead, featuring Bootsy Collins, Buddy Miles and others, after a period of seclusion, and drug and family problems. He also kept company with rap stars like Arrested Development and Flavor Flav, and appeared in John Singleton’s Poetic Justice. Nuriddin also mentored UK acid jazzers Galliano. In the mid-90s their tangled history entered another chapter, with two rival line-ups (Nuriddin/El-Hadi and Hassan/Oyewole) recording as the Last Poets, although currently the latter teaming holds the rights to the name.
“Ghostface Killah and RZA [from the Wu-Tang Clan] will bow down when they see us,” Oyewole says. “People say we started rap and hip-hop, but what we really got going is poetry. We put poetry on blast.” The Last Poets’ poems have been sampled or quoted by NWA, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemyand many more; the rapper Common’s Grammy-nominated 2005 song The Corner features the Last Poets (as well as Kanye West) representing the old-school guys in the neighbourhood who explain how black power rose up from the streets. “The corner was our Rock of Gibraltar,” Bin Hassan says in the song. “Power to the people!”
The 302 Guns Down collaboration with The Last Poets was created in order to demonstrate how art can be a powerful tool used to fight societal problems and bring healing to anyone in need. The Lyric Lab will be used to teach children who have been affected by gun violence how to create and perform music that pertains to their personal struggles. It will give them an opportunity to start the process of healing themselves and others as they look inward to discuss how they feel. Being able to perform with The Last Poets, gives the children a once in a lifetime experience of working directly with three poets known as The Godfather’s Of Hip-Hop who have mastered using art as a means to bring internal wellness and external social change. Ultimately, we hope to use the collaboration to demonstrate to the greater Wilmington community the power of art, the passing of a cultural baton to our youth, and healing through music to ideally result in less violence in our city.
TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS CLICK HERE
OCT 13TH FROM 6PM-8PM AT THE DELAWARE ART MUSEUM
2301 KENTMERE PARKWAY,
WILMINGTON, DE 19806
10$ FOR MEMBERS 15$ FOR NON MEMBERS
CHILDREN 6 AND UNDER FREE
THIS HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO BY THE DELAWARE ART MSUEUM, 302 GUNSDOWN, THE LYRIC LAB AND GUERRILLA REPUBLIK
The performance will contain explicit content. All ticket purchases are final. No refunds or exchanges will be issued.