40 years ago, before the proliferation of hustler’s stories in the genre of rap music, a poet dropped an album that was definitely ahead of its time.
Chuck D calls the album, “a verbal bible to understand the streets.” Melle Mel of Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five memorized the entire record. The Wu Tang Clan, Beastie Boys, and Jungle Brothers have all paid homage to it. Yet, the record isn’t as well known as it probably should be. It helped build the foundation of rap music as we know it today.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this historic record, a special concert is being held at The Jazz Cafe next Monday. Jalal aka Lightnin’ Rod will be performing the entire record live. The event will be filmed and a documentary will be released shortly thereafter.
Jalal is a founding member of The Last Poets. Their unique blend of poetry and music predated any recorded rap music and was hugely influential in the creation of this culture we all know and love.
That is why I was so honoured to be able to talk with Jalal for the entire hour of the program today. This is hip-hop history and I am glad I am able to help shine a light on this historic record and event.
Riverhorse, the UK company behind the film project, has followed Jalal’s story for two years, piecing together Hip-Hop’s missing links using a combination of good will and crowd funding to ensure this cultural heritage is preserved.
Filmmaker Mike Todd, whose last feature documentary was on the late Joe Frazier, explained, “This is a truly global story. Rap, as a key part of Hip Hop culture, has changed the world. It has given a voice to people across the globe. And yet, this crucial aspect of the arts origin is missing from history. We want to change that.”
Producer Lathan Hodge, who has been involved with Hip Hop for many years as a close collaborator with Public Enemy explains, “Filming this historic gig in London will be the culmination of our journey with Jalal. We’re just reaching out now to people for who this history matters, to help us preserve it.”
Here is a teaser for the film.
If you are anywhere close, go check out the live event. You won’t be disappointed.
So without further ado, press play to be educated and entertained by a talented musician, a great rhymer, a consummate storyteller, and one of the founders of hip-hop, Jalal aka Lightnin’ Rod.
Purchase tickets here and . . .
Enjoy the show! It’s TONIGHT!