Category Archives: Reggae

The Last Poets Understand What Black Is (Interview)

Fifty years ago The Last Poets formed as a group in Marcus Garvey Park on what would have been Malcolm X’s 43rd birthday. The outspoken minister and activist was killed three years earlier in 1965 amidst civil rights turmoil in the country and a serious disagreement with Nation Of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. The group emerged with their self-titled album in 1970 and took America to task for its racism as a trio of two poets and a percussionist. Their Pro-Black poetry was in the same class as the work of Gil Scott-Heron who also admonished America’s racist practices with the eloquence of jazz.

It has been 20 years since The Last Poets released Time Has Come. Black Lives Matter, Trump, and the overall feeling that America has not changed since they started making music five decades ago brought them out of retirement to record Understand What Black Is. The new music is just as fiery as some of their favored jewels like “Niggas Is Scared Of Revolution” and has a distinct jazzy dub sound. The album is also a celebration of their 50th anniversary as a group. Hip-hop and rap music gets so much of its passion, rhythm, and candidness from The Last Poets. Members Abiodun Oyewole, Umar Bin Hassan and Baba Donn Babatunde recently answered some emailed questions about Understand What Black Is and their view of America today. 

 

“Malcolm X was about human rights”-Abiodun 

 

 

 

It’s been a while since your last album, what is it about this time that made you want to create new music?

Umar:  The fact that we are alive and able to do this after 50 years and the changes we have been through as men in the black community, we look at things differently and more wisely as we are older and wiser.

Baba: And we are in Trump time.

Abiodun: To let it be known that The Last Poets are alive and well, and we are still thinking and we are still very vibrant when it comes to our thoughts and the world we live in.

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Damian Marley Takes His Son On A Tour Of Trenchtown In Video For Living It Up

 Damian Marley used his video for “Living It Up” to give his son a tour of their family’s origins in Trenchtown. They walk through the neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica and Marley shows him the life Bob Marley was able to escape because of his success. He also shows him the house his grandmother, the late Cedella Marley Booker used to live in before she relocated to the United States. The scenery changes and they have a celebration at their mansion in the other part of town with a white party. “Living It Up” is from Marley’s 2017 Stony Hill album. 

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Johnny Popcorn Preparing To Release Totem 2.0 & Video For Cold World

Johnny Popcorn’s Totem 2.0 is the answer to Totem Pole that was released last year. The Totem 2.0 EP comes out officially on January 1st and can be streamed now. The video for “Cold World” is an eye-catching colorful visualizer.

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Jay-Z: Bam Featuring Damian Marley Official Video

Jay-Z and Damian Marley walk around Jamaica and talk about the role of the artist in the video for “Bam.” They are joined by Sister Nancy, the writer and performer of “Bam Bam” and she shares her belief in the timelessness of good music. Young Guru sits in the studio with Jay-Z and makes the connection between reggae and hip-hop.

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Damian Marley Celebrates Community In Video For R.O.A.R.

Damian Marley has another video for his upcoming Stony Hill album. “R.O.A.R.” is about taking charge of your community and the video shows his neighborhood functioning peacefully without crime. Lyrically speaking Marley challenges the listener to defend their communities at all costs from strife.

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