Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Last Poets - Hip Hop Pioneers?




The Last Poets' "Wake Up Niggers" manages to cram a lot into 2 minutes and 50 seconds, that's for sure. I first heard it on the best film soundtrack LP ever ("Performance") - a film that came out in 1970, which surely must make The Last Poets pioneers of rap, heck they even mention rapping in the lyrics.

This song itself is a mental call to arms, to shake out the apathy they saw in their brothers putting up with racial oppression. The drink and drugs keep you stupid and somnambulant - wake up - or we're all through. 

This sort of sentiment has been echoed throughout the more socially conscious element of hip hop that followed, the theory that the CIA introduced crack to the ghetto to keep revolutionary thoughts at bay. 

The Manics also picked up on this theme on their New Art Riot EP, but transposing it to the UK - "Everyone's taking drugs cos it makes governing easier". 

There's a great scene in Alex Cox's "Sid and Nancy" where a very astute black man handing out the methadone lectures Sid:

“Smack is the great controller, keeps people stupid. When they could be smart. You guys got no right to be strung out on that stuff. YOU could be selling healthy anarchy. Long as you addicts, you be full of shit.” 

The Last Poets' interweaving voices build to a climax, becoming louder and more and more frantic! Dig it the most! 



19 comments:

steenbeck said...

Nice post, Mr. McFlah. I thought you might like this song...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGIpUXsgFeo
It's Common, the Last Poets, and Kanye West, and Kanye actually directed the video.

Blimpy said...

Great song and vid - thanks for the link! Great loop - I would have liked more Last Poets and less Kenny West though.

Blimpy said...

I really use the word great far too much. I must apologise.

Blimpy said...

There's a whole rap battle in the comments! WTF!

Blimpy said...

I'VE JOINED IN WITH THE RAP BATTLE!! I'M TOTALLY A RAPPER!!!!

steenbeck said...

Blimpy, you probably are the best rapper in your hood, for what it's worth.

steenbeck said...

Blimy, you are great.

I think this is funny. Here's the sample from the Corner, it's a STILL PICTURE with an AUDIO TRACK, and somebody disabled the audio track. Tee hee.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0W235GzKB8

steenbeck said...

Ha!

Blimey Blimpy

saneshane said...

I have no idea what somnambulant means...

...oh goggle says 'that explains a lot about you saneshane'

I liked the video to 'the corner' don't think I've listened to my copy of 'BE' very much at all and it has a 40 min dvd with it.. only excuse is my son was born in 05 so not much went in!
and I'm an old hippy that really likes 'electric circus' each to their own eh.


Last poets is just superb .. the rolling talking flow of 60/70's black or white poetry over beats or music just seamed right for the time.. so much better for not being defined as rap or hip hop or performance art or poetry (it probably was though.. but I wasn't there so.. ummm)

me I'm sticking with pictures..this word stuff hurts my head.

Blimpy said...

@actually steen - copyright coming to youtube is a rhhhlllly bad thing! the internet is becoming less free by the month - wake up bloggers, or we all through!

@shane - you are spot on about the rolling flow.

May1366 said...

"Wake up bloggers, or we all through!"

Blimpy, that's magnificent!

Blimpy said...

-shane- that rap battle sure is hotting up!!

- may - thanks!!

Proudfoot said...

Yo, um...dogs.

Nice postin' fro' mister Mc Flah!
He got mo' spots that is hot than a Jaguah...

Respec' to ya Blimps (or do I call you Blimy?)
You rappin like a homey, can't believe you jus' a limey,

Shane! Is you sane? Don't be quite so oh-contrary,
You gotta find da word somnambulant? Yah use a dictionary,

Now da 'Spill is da chill, is da ill communication
I always blog on on here when I needs an education

Oh God I'm a middle-class white English teacher. Um...
Have a nice weekend y'al...everybody.

B-Mac said...

Proudfoot -that is the sweetest bit of rapping I;ve ever heard!

Oh, and my hip hop name is B-Mac, by the way!

Blimpy said...

Oh, and you should totally join in the rap battle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGIpUXsgFeo

Blimpy said...

I had the toast, and await tomorrow's jousting eagerly!!

saneshane said...

He He B-Mac
the boyz not very near the hood are back!

Blimpy said...

Bigger boys have turned up, bigger boys have turned up ***sucks thumb and looks scared***

saneshane said...

I put my hands over my eyes...

(everyone knows you can't be seen, if you can't see the big boys.)

Will work on my video (I hopefully just sent to you..) just found a link so it should get up on the spill at some point!