A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a friend and we got to complaining about the state of the current music scene, like a pair of old men or something. Maybe its just me, and maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but it seems that we're missing some radicalism in the contemporary music scene. Where is the revolutionary fire that has informed much of the best modern musics from the Fugs to Public Enemy, from Crass to Throbbing Gristle, Black Flag to The Minutemen. Are contemporary radicals just a bit more subtle with their messages, or does today's music reflect a wider apathy or confusion? I don't know. Like I said, I might be missing some hugely important and politically scandalous underground musical movement, one that purposefully shuns the attention of has beens like myself...
Todays album is from 1972, a radical message from a group of proto-rappers from the ravaged Harlem ghetto:
All Music Guide has this to say about this fantastic group:
...with their politically charged raps, taut rhythms and dedication to raising African American consciousness, The Last Poets almost single handedly laid the groundwork for the emergence of hip hop. The group arose out of the prison experiences of Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, a US Army paratrooper who chose jail as an alternative to fighting in Vietnam; while incarcerated he converted to Islam, learnt to 'spiel' (an early form of rapping), and befriended fellow inmates Omar Ben Hassan and Abiodun Oyewoie.The zip is available over here.
The group's uncompromising stance and hardcore black nationalism landed them under CIA counter intelligence surveillance. And for all of this, Chastisment still sounds hugely funky and is well worth hearing.
- 1.Tribute to Obabi (Ogun)
- 3.Black Soldier
- 4.E Pluribus Unum
- 5.Hands Off
- 6.Before the White Man Came
- 7.Bird's Word