The Last Poets

The Last Poets are several groups of poets and musicians who arose from the late 1960s African-American civil rights movement's black nationalism. The name is taken from a poem by the South African revolutionary poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, who believed he was in the last era of poetry before guns would take over. The original users of that name were the trio of Abiodun Oyewole, Gylan Kain, and David Nelson.

The Last Poets
OriginHarlem, New York, United States
GenresPolitical poetry
Years active1968–present[1]
LabelsMercury
PolyGram
Celluloid
Casablanca
Douglas Records
Mouth Almighty
Innerhythmic
MembersAbiodun Oyewole
Umar Bin Hassan
Baba Donn Babatunde
Past membersJalal Mansur Nuriddin (deceased)
Suliaman El Hadi (deceased)
Nilaja (deceased)
Abu Mustapha (deceased)
Kenyatte Abdur-Rahman (deceased)
Jamal Abdus Sabur

The versions of the group led by Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin and Umar Bin Hassan had the largest impact on popular culture. The Last Poets were one of the earliest influences on hip-hop music. Critic Jason Ankeny wrote: "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."[2] The British music magazine NME stated, "Serious spokesmen like Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, and later Gary Byrd, paved the way for the many socially committed Black [emcees] a decade later."[3]


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