Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, a founding member the pioneering spoken-word group Last Poets, passed away on Monday (June 4) at 74.
In a statement shared to the Last Poets’ Facebook page, Nuriddin’s family wrote, “It is with extreme sadness and a heavy heart that the family Jalal Nuriddin announce the passing this great pioneer the recording industry. Jalal slipped quietly away this evening into the arms Allah.”
No cause death has been revealed.
Founded in the late ’60s, the Last Poets emerged from the Harlem Writers Workshops in New York City and are ten credited for laying the blueprint for Hip Hop’s foundation.
Over the years, the Last Poets released several albums, such as 1993’s Holy Terror and Understand What Black Is, which came out earlier this year.
In 1973, Nuriddin emerged under a new alias, Lightnin’ Rod, for his solo album, Hustler’s Convention. The project is considered a building block Hip Hop, with the Beastie Boys and Wu-Tang Clan being two the many who drew influence from the record
Hip Hop pioneers Grandmaster Melle Mel and The Furious Five wrote a song in the Last Poets’ honor titled “Hustlers Convention,” which was released by Sugar Hill Records in 1984.
GrandMixer DXT, who produced Nuriddin’s “Mean Machine” single, spoke to HipHopDX about the “Grandfather Hip Hop” and his lasting impact.
“It was the third quarter the moon on the fifth June when I received a call from an old friend mine,” DXT says. “He said ‘Lightnin’ Rod has transitioned so it is now your mission to share his teachings Spoegraphics (spoken pictures), then pass it on at the end your time, and so I shall.
“Jamal is my mentor and master teacher the spoken word. Hustlers Convention was one the very first poems that most people involved in the Hip Hop community learned. I am saddened by his passing, but I will miss him not, for he is part everything I do in the movement called Hip Hop. He’ll be with me always.”
The Last Poets’ music has been sampled by numerous Hip Hop artists, including Common, Brand Nubian, A Tribe Called Quest, Little Brother, Showbiz & A.G., Dr. Dre and The Notorious B.I.G.
Check out some the tributes below.