Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, one of rap’s forefathers and a founding member of the Last Poets, has passed away at age 74.
The Last Poets formed in Harlem during the late ’60s, inspired by the black nationalism of the African-American civil rights movement. Many revere them as rap’s forebears, citing their rhythmic spoken word. The Last Poets released their last studio album Understand What Black Is earlier this year.
Jalaluddin Mansur was born in Brooklyn in 1944. The poet and activist was widely known as “the Grandfather of Rap.” He joined Gylan Kain, David Nelson, and Felipé Luciano to form the Last Poets in 1967. The lineup later changed to its most recent and most popular iteration: Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole, Sulaiman El-Hadi, and Nilaja Obabi. In 1973, Jalal released Hustlers Convention under the moniker Lightnin’ Rod. The album has been sampled by artists like the Beastie Boys and Nas and is said to have influenced rappers like Ice-T and Lupe Fiasco.
The Last Poets announced his death today in a statement:
It is with extreme sadness and a heavy heart that the family of Jalal Nuriddin announce the passing of this great pioneer of the recording industry. A member of the Last Poets, and also known as ‘The Grandfather of Rap’, Jalal slipped quietly away this evening into the arms of Allah. The family asks that you respect their privacy at this time, and refrain from all calls and contact. Details regarding his jananza (furneral) will be forthcoming shortly. They ask that you make dua for Jalal especially during these last 10 days of Ramadan. Thank you.