Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Last Poets: The First Hip Hop

If they aren't, I don't mind if they get the credit.

My parents own at least 400 records, and I think I've listened to every single one of them. Out of all those records, I'm pretty sure I listened to The Last Poets album more than any other.

I remember first discovering this historic piece of vinyl when I was about seven or eight years old. I would get home from school while my parents were still at work. The television would get pretty boring after a while, so I would sit Indian-style (Is that racist? Should that be "Native American-style"?) in front of the stereo, open the liner notes with the lyrics, and listen to these cats talk about damage caused by black stereotypes or the complexities of religion. It was also one of the first times I encounter the word "nigga" in all its sophisticated glory. Looking back on it now, it's odd how a such a young kid could be attracted to such complicated material. Even though I didn't have much of an idea why, at the time I felt it was important for me to hear.

It was.


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