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Act Jalal


A brief timeline of Jalal (Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin) - the self-proclaimed "Grandfather of Rap" and the last of the Last Poets, whose musical path crossed that of Adrian Sherwood in the early 1990s:

According to legend, the South African poet Little Willie Kgositile arrived in New York in 1968. There he joined the Harlem based, black writer's workshop called the East Wind located in Harlem, the unofficial black capital of America. Little Willie, who had fled from the racist apartheid regime of his homeland, had written a poem in which he said:

"[This was] ...the last age of essays and poems, and that guns and rifles, would take there place, so therefore, we are the last poets of this age."

The members of the workshop concurred that they were figuratively these "last poets" and though Little Willie left shortly after, the remainder became wordsmiths and hammered the feelings of their people, and eventually all oppressed people in the world, into the shape and scope of the struggle between despair and hope. In the beginning, The Last Poets consisted of Gylain Kain, Abiodun Oyewole, David Nelson, Felipe Luciano, Omar Bin Hassen, Jalal Nuriddin & Sulieman El-Hadi.

Due to conflicts in style and content, they performed in various combinations with each other, or not at all, until such time as a suitable cohesive lasting unit could knit together, in complementation as opposed to competition. So it was that Jalal and Sulieman emerged as rhyme partners honing their art form into a vehicle of total expression, which is today called rap and hip-hop.

For 24 years they developed the science of making sense out of non-sense until Sulieman passed away on October 3rd 1995. They were the first rap group to be acclaimed by the people and went on to sell a million records by word of mouth, although they were the last to be acknowledged by the recording industry, who sold their records on the down-low, without the benefit of advertising and promotion.

The 'Mankind' single
The "Mankind" single

Jalal's collaboration with Adrian Sherwood around 1993-5 came about through the Skip McDonald connection. Jalal, being somewhat a critical and demanding performer, insured that the association was bound to be short-lived - but not before a 10" single (ON-U DP 22) and album's worth of material (ON-U LP 66) had been committed to wax.

Having recorded his first rap record with Jimi Hendrix in 1969, Jalal, the sole remaining Last Poet, has evolved the art form of rap to his own bard level and continues to develop his own style.

(Developed from material at

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