Jalal Mansur Nuriddin

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Jalal Mansur Nuriddin
Birth name Unknown
Born 1944 (age 70–71)
Brooklyn, New York
Genres Spoken word, hip hop
Years active 1960s–present
Associated acts The Last Poets, Malik & the O.G's Jalal Lightnin' Rod, Working Week Bondage Records (France)
Website grandfatherofrap.com
Notable instruments

Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin (born in 1944) is one of the founding members of The Last Poets, a group of poets and musicians that evolved in the 1960s out of the Harlem Writers Workshop in New York City.

He was born in Fort Greene in Brooklyn, New York, USA. In his earlier career he used the names Lightnin' Rod and Alafia Pudim. He is often dubbed "The Grandfather of Rap".[1]


A devout Muslim, poet, acupuncturist, and martial art exponent (a practitioner of a form of Bak Mei), he was incarcerated and was given early release on condition that he join the US Army, where he trained as a paratrooper but was imprisoned again within the Army for refusing to salute the Flag. He did, however, received an honourable discharge and went to work for a bank on Wall Street. It was his experience there that spawned his poem "E-Pluribus Unum", from 1973's Chastisment. Jalal converted to Islam and learned to spiel, an early form of rap, which he called "spoagraphics" or "spoken pictures". It was also known as toasting, which was a form of rhythmic spoken poetry accompanied by ad hoc percussion by prison inmates, such as the famous Signified Monkey toast popularised by comedian Dolamite (not to be confused with the "toast" of Jamaican DJs, which is more reggae than rap). Jalal's talent and genius with words and rhythm are renowned and he has produced some epic poems such as "Be-Yon-Der", an 18-minute piece on The Last Poets album 1977 album Delights of the Garden, which was released on Celluloid Records.

Jalal joined the first version of The Last Poets, with members Gylan Kain, David Nelson, and Felipe Luciano, but left before the trio recorded and released their only album, Right On, in 1967, the soundtrack to a documentary movie of the same name. As he informed them of the intention to form his own group called The Last Poets, the Right On album was released under the name The Original Last Poets.

Together with Umar Bin Hassan and the late Nilja, their percussionist, he released in 1969 the self-titled first album The Last Poets, followed in 1970 by This Is Madness. At the time his name was still credited as Alafia Pudim, but he later changed it to the Islamic name (Jalaluddin – The Glory of the Faith, Mansur – Victorious, Nuriddin – The Light of the Faith) by which he is known today. Jalal's fellow poet and friend the late Suleiman El-Hadi replaced Nilja on the third album, Chastisement. and also recorded 1974's At Last (the only recording to include Jalal, Umar, and Suleiman together). Altogether, there were six albums released by the Jalal / Suleiman "mach two" edition of the Poets, culminating with 1993's Scatterap/Home. Later members included Kenyatte Abdur-Rahman, composer and vibraphonist (who died in November 2015) on the album Scatterap/Home, and Abu Mustafa also decesed.

"Lightnin' Rod" was the pseudonym of Alafia Pudim when he released his seminal 1973 Hustlers Convention LP, featuring tracks such as "Sport" and "Spoon" and "Coppin' Some Fronts for the Set". The album release on United Artists featured Tina Turner and the Ikettes, Bernard Purdie, Billy Preston, Cornell Dupree, and Kool and the Gang. Most of the lyrics deal with the way of living in ghettos, i.e. hustling, drugs, gambling and money with the outcome being a shoot out with the cops followed by jail where the hustlers learn "The whole truth". A sequel, The Hustlers Detention is purportedly in the pipeline with the final part being "The Hustlers Ascension".

In April 2008 he reunited and reconciled with fellow Last Poets Umar Bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole, along with David Nelson and Felipe Luciano, all of whom appear in Made in Amerikkka, a documentary by French film-maker Claude Santiago.

Jalal did an album for Adrian Sherwood and The single "Mankind,Pt. 2", produced by Skip McDonald and released on Adrian Sherwood's label On-U Sound, can be heard over the closing credits of the film 187, featuring Samuel L. Jackson.

Jalal and the Last Poets also had a cameo appearance in John Singleton's 1993 film Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur.

in 2004 Jalal wrote the foreword to Malik Al Nasir's poetry collection Ordinary Guy, published under Malik's pre-Islamic name Mark T. Watson in the UK by Fore-Word Press.[2] Jalal also featured in the documentary Word Up – From Ghetto to Mecca, along with poets Gil Scott Heron, Mark T. Watson a.k.a. Malik Al Nasir, Rod Youngs (Gil Scott-Heron's Amnesia Express) and dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, where he discussed the significance of the spoken word as an extension of the African oral tradition, as well as the origins of rap and the work of his student and friend Malik Al Nasir. In the film Jalal recites from Malik's book "Ordinary Guy" the poem he wrote as a foreword to the book called "Malik's Mode". Jalal also later recoded Malik's Mode with Malik's band "Malik & the O.G's" for the album Rhythms of the Diaspora Vol's 1 & 2 at Mercredi 9 Studios in Paris while filming the Word Up documentary. The album [3]Rhythms of the Diaspora Vol's 1 & 2 was release on 1st August 2015 on Mentis records in the UK.

Jalal spent several years in Europe, mainly in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France and Paris, and also in Liverpool, Bristol, and London, England. In 2009, he appeared live in New York, a return to the United States after more than twenty years. He now lives in Georgia, in the US. He is currently working on his autobiography (written completely in rhyme).

Jalal returned to the UK in 2014 to perform live the seminal solo album Hustlers Convention, credited as being the first ever RAP album[4] live at the Jazz Café in Camden Town, London. The event was produced by Fore-Word Press for Riverhorse Communications who are filming it as part of a documentary on the forgotten roots of Rap. The executive producer in Public Enemy's front man Chuck D. The film Hustlers Convention,[5] directed by Mike Todd, premiered at The Smithsonian in Washington DC in 2014, with its London premiere at the Institute Of Contemporary Arts, on June 14, 2015. The Hustlers Convention Live features The Jazz Warriors International Collective, Malik & the O.G's and poet Lemn Sissay. The UK DVD release of the historical Hustlers Convention was in 2015. The film premiered in the UK at Docfest 2015 then went on general release through [6]Kaleidoscope and in New York at TriBeca Film Festival 2015 for its USA cinema release.

Selected discography[edit]

  • On The One
  • The Fruits of Rap
  • Science Friction
  • Mean Machine (1984) 12"

The Last Poets[edit]

Further information: The Last Poets
  • Long Enough 12" (The Last Poets)

Lightnin' Rod[edit]

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Material: The Third Power; E Pluribus Unum and Power Of Soul (Black Chant).
  • Working Week: Working Nights / 12"; Stella Marina.
  • Apollo 440: Dude Descending A Staircase; Hustler Groove and The Children of the Future.
  • Cosmo Vitelli: Video; Science Affliction.
  • Silent Poets: Words and Silence; Inquizative, Derivative, and The Children of the Future.
  • Faya Dub: Sings and Plays; Reggae Monk.
  • Seven Dub: Rock It Tonight; Land of the Lost and Naturally.
  • Michel Benita: Drastic; Sky Screen.
  • Aktivist: Stereotape; Nouvelle Experience.
  • Various Artists: Acid Jazz And Other Illicit Grooves (spoken word — Introduction only)
  • Various Artists: 12" / 30 Ans Apres Martin Luther King.
  • Various Artists: Tempo Jazz Edition Volume 1 – Talking Loud; Mean Machine '90.
  • Malik & the O.G's: "Rhythms of the Diaspora Vol's 1 & 2 Featuring Gil Scott-Heron & The Last Poets" (spoken word – Jazzoetry); Malik's Mode Mentis Records 2015.



  1. ^ "Jalal of The Last Poets", DMC World Magazine, January 31, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Fore-Word Press
  3. ^ Rhythms of the Diaspora Vol's 1 & 2 Mentis Records (2015)
  4. ^ Graeme Thomson, "Hustlers Convention: rap's great lost album", The Guardian,January 30, 2014.
  5. ^ Hustlers Convention
  6. ^ Hustlers Convention Feature Documentary UK Release 2014

External links[edit]