Re: Gil Scott-Heron, Last Poets et al
Thu, 28 Mar 1996 05:48:27 -0800

Some comments on this thread:

>Surely you must have confused Last Poets with Watts Prophets. Last Poets
>formed in Harlem, NYC in '69. Watts Prophets on the other hand met in LA
>after the riots and started gigging as the Watts Prophets in '70. Their
>only released LP "Rappin' Black in a White World" came '72. Check out the
>interview in Brian Cross' "It's Not About a Salary".

Right On!

Interestingly the Watts Prophets and the Last Poets have an almost parallel
development forming out of black consciousness writers workshops in the mid
60's - the Prophets on the west coast and the Poets on the East. Both groups
released their debut LPs within a month of each other.

And both groups were raped royally by their record labels!

The Watts Prophets are finishing a new CD that will be released later this
year on Payday/London Records. Its their first in 25+ years! (Although they
can be found on numerous collaborations such as Quiny Jones, Stevie Wonder,
Don Cherry).

Payday has also licensed the original masters for "Rapping Black in a White
World" and the "Black Voices: Up from the Streets of Watts" for rerelease
(the first time on CD).

>My band Belizbeha has opened for them both over the past year and I can
>not speak more highly of them. They were both pioneers, both dedicated,
>and both are trullty amazing offering something not to be forgotten. I
>highly recommend seaking them out on disk or live if you're unfamiliar.
>Not to mention how trully nice they really are as well.....

Which Last Poets? There are (at last count) 3 factions battling over the

There's Jalal Nurridin and and the estate of the late Suliman El-Hadi -- who
have continuously used and recorded as the Last Poets for decades (has anyone
heard "Delights of the Garden"? -- a masterpiece barely eclipsed by the
debut "Douglas 3" LP -- IMHO). Until Suliman's death a few months ago the
group toured alot -- particularly in Europe.

Then there's the Omar Ben Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole version of the Last
Poets (sometimes referred to by Jalal as the "Xpoets") who resurfaced last
year after a couple decades of absence and released "the Holy Terror" CD --
and used the Last Poets name without permission from Jalal and Suliman. They
toured the US last year.

And then there are the "Original Last Poets". The three poets who founded
the group in the first place! But in typical Angry Young Man fashion had all
left the group before the debut LP came out! They resurfaced immediately
after the Douglas 3 LP was released and put out the "Right On" LP - which was
quickly pulled by court order after Omar, Abiodun and Jalal (then together)
successfully argued that they had abandoned the name. This group resurfaces
from time to time for a reunion show or to receive an award.

What a mess, huh? (this is all recounted in detail in Motor Booty Affair
about a year ago or so) Too bad that they are spending all their energy
fighting each other instead of making new CDs (and getting their back
royalties paid)!

I lose this account in a few days. But if anyone has a comment on this
subject please feel free to email me at "".

Oh, I should probably mention here that I do have a vested interest in the
subject (I manage the Watts Prophets and consult the Jalal/Suliman wing of
the Last Poets).