Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, a member of the vaunted spoken-word collective The Last Poets and considered a Hip-Hop forefather, has died. The “Grandfather of Rap” was not a huge fan of the genre he and his brethren helped spawn, but the culture still fondly remembers the pioneer.
Nurridin, a devout Muslim and martial artist, was born July 24, 1944 in Brooklyn, New York. His given name isn’t immediately known although some sources say Alafia Pudim the name he was given at birth. The former U.S. Army veteran embraced radical politics during his time in the service and converted to Islam in the early 70’s, embracing a style of poetry that would mirror the dancehall reggae tradition of “toasting” which literally shakes out to talking over a beat.
The Last Poets formed in 1968, taking their group name from late South African poet and father of rapper Earl Sweatshirt, Keorapetse Kgositsile or Bra Willie. The group had many members and shifting lineups, but the incarnation that Nurriddin was a part of had a big impact on music and culture.
Nurriddin’s 1973 album under the name Lightnin’ Rod, Hustlers Convention, remains one of Hip-Hop’s most sampled works of all time. While Nurridin and the Poets never saw heavy commercial success since the early 70’s, he remained active and completed a pair of sequels for Hustlers Convention all in the form of rhymes according to The Guardian writer Abdul Malik Al Nasir.
Across Twitter, Hip-Hop and music fans overall have paid their respects to the powerful poet.
Jalal Mansur Nurriddin was 74.