THE LAST POETS
Understand What Black Is 7/10
Harlem insurrectionists refreshed for the Black Lives Matter era
Forged in the heat of the Civil Rights movement, The Last Poets’ politically conscious spoken word laid the groundwork for rap. Since the turn of the century they’ve been quiet, save for the occasional live show. But Trump’s election has had a galvanising effect. “How Many Bullets” and “Rain Of Terror” tackle America’s history of weaponised bigotry, while “The Bridge” offers a glimpse of spiritual salvation, even as it gestures to the ills of the world. The musical backing – which pairs Baba Donn Babatunde’s hand drums to reggae courtesy of Prince Fatty and Nostalgia 77’s Ben Lamdin – is politer than the lyrics, but it can’t altogether blunt the boldness of their discourse.