"Understand What Black Is" by The Last Poets is an album that matters - not just musically, but as a record of the times we're living in. The Last Poets are weathervanes, warning of the future and past sins in poems that are indivisible from the rhythms they are voiced on.
Their work is a test of our own courage - because are you ready to receive what they're saying? And is your heart clean and strong enough to withstand the truth?
As all great artists, their work is not fictitious but speak of their own journey, and that of a revolutionary struggle largely defined by race.
The Last Poets first came together at an event commemorating Malcolm X in East Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park during the spring of 1968. That initial line-up, comprised of Dahveed Nelson, Gylan Kain and Felipe Luciano proved short-lived and it was a trio of different voices that would secure their legacy with a debut album, 1970's Last Poets, that sounds just as radical and challenging today as it did nearly fifty years ago. Two of their members from that time, Umar Bin Hassan and Adiodun Oyewole, still wear the moniker of The Last Poets.