The Last Poets’ Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, the Grandfather of Rap, Dead at 74
Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, one of the founding members of The Last Poets, has passed away at age 74, according to Okayplayer.
The sad news was confirmed by The Last Poets in a statement, which reads:
It is with extreme sadness and a heavy heart that the family of Jalal Nuriddin announce the passing of this great pioneer of the recording industry. A member of the Last Poets, and also known as ‘The Grandfather of Rap’, Jalal slipped quietly away this evening into the arms of Allah. The family asks that you respect their privacy at this time, and refrain from all calls and contact. Details regarding his jananza (funeral) will be forthcoming shortly. They ask that you make dua for Jalal especially during these last 10 days of Ramadan. Thank you.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jalaluddin Mansur is often regarded as “the Grandfather of Rap.” He was a black activist, devout Muslim and a thriving poet from Harlem’s Writers Workshop before he joined the first iteration of The Last Poets, with members Gylan Kain, David Nelson, Felipé Luciano in 1967. He would later team up with Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole, Sulaiman El-Hadi and percussionist Nilaja Obabi to form a new version of The Last Poets, which rose to prominence in the late '60s black nationalist movement.
In 1973, Jalal released Hustlers Convention under his artist name Lightnin’ Rod. It was a concept album about life in the ghetto. Although the album sold poorly, it influenced a wave of rappers including Melle Mel, Chuck D, Ice-T and Lupe Fiasco. The LP was also heavily sampled in rap by artists like the Beastie Boys, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and many others.
Despite never receiving credit or royalties from artists sampling Hustlers Convention, he never expressed bitterness about it. In a 2015 interview with Noisey, Jalal revealed that he doesn't even listen to rap anymore.
“I don’t even think about rap, man. Rap is contrived," he said. "If they can do the same thing with live instruments that they can do with technology they get my respect. If they can’t do that, they don’t know the music.”
Watch Jalal Nuriddin's Interview on q on CBC