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Lightnin' Rod


Lightnin' Rod

Jalal Mansur Nuriddin
Birth name Alafia Pudim
Also known as Lightnin' Rod
Born 1944 (age 69–70)
Brooklyn, New York
Genres Spoken word, rapping, hip hop music
Years active 1960s–present
Associated acts The Last Poets

Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin (born in 1944) is one of the founding members of The Last Poets, a group of poets and musicians that evolved in the 1960s out of the Harlem Writers Workshop in New York City.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York.


A devout Muslim, poet, acupuncturist, and martial art exponent (a practitioner of a form of bak mei), he was incarcerated and was given early release on condition that he join the US Army, where he trained as a paratrooper but was imprisoned again for refusing to salute the Flag. He received an honourable discharge and went to work for a bank on Wall Street. He converted to Islam and learned to spiel, an early form of rap, which he called "spoagraphics" or "spoken pictures". It was also known as toasting, which was a form of rhythmic spoken poetry accompanied by ad hoc percussion by prison inmates, not to be confused with the rant of Jamaican DJs. His talent and genius with words and rhythm are renowned.

He joined the first version of The Last Poets, with members Gylan Kain, David Nelson, and Felipe Luciano, but left before the trio recorded and released their only album Right On in 1967, the soundtrack to a documentary movie of the same name. As he informed them of the intention to form his own group called The Last Poets, the Right On album was released under the name The Original Last Poets.

Together with Umar Bin Hassan and Nilja, he released in 1969 the self-titled first album, The Last Poets, followed in 1970 by This Is Madness. At the time his name was still credited as Alafia Pudim, but he later changed it to the Islamic name (Jalaluddin — The Glory Of The Faith, Mansur — Victorious, Nuriddin — The Light Of The Faith) by which he is known today. Jalal's fellow poet and friend Sulieman El-Hadi replaced Nilja as of the third album Chastisement. Altogether, there were six albums released by the Jalal "mach two" edition of the Poets, culminating with 1977's Delights Of The Garden with added percussionist Bernard Purdie. Later members included Abiodun Oyewole with whom Jalal and Umar reformed the Last Poets in 1984 at the prodding of producer Bill Laswell, making the album Oh My People. Since that time, the duo of Umar and Abiodun, and Jalal, have simultaneously led their own exclusive versions of Last Poets, leading to legal battles over the name.

Lightnin' Rod was the pseudonym of Alafia Pudim when he released his seminal 1973 Hustlers Convention LP, featuring tracks such as "Sport" and "Spoon" and "Coppin' Some Fronts For The Set". The album release on United Artists featured Tina Turner and the Ikettes, Bernard Purdie, Billy Preston, Colonel Dupree, and Kool and the Gang. Most of the lyrics deal with the way of living in ghettos, i.e. hustling, drugs, gambling and money with the outcome being a shoot out with the cops followed by jail where the hustlers learn "The whole truth". A sequel, The Hustlers Detention is purportedly in the pipeline.

The "Mankind" single, "Mankind,Pt. 2", produced by Skip McDonald and released on Adrian Sherwood's label On-U-Sound, can be heard over the closing credits of the film 187, featuring Samuel L. Jackson.

The use of " Wake Up, Niggers " (from the debut Last Poets LP) can be heard in Donald Cammell's classic film Performance (1970).

Jalal and the Last Poets also had a cameo appearance in John Singleton's 1993 film Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur.

Jalal recently wrote the foreword to Malik Al Nasir's poetry collection Ordinary Guy, published in the UK by Fore-Word Press.[1] He also featured in the documentary Word Up — From Ghetto to Mecca, along with poets Gil Scott Heron, Mark T. Watson a.k.a. Malik Al Nasir and dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, where he discussed the significance of the spoken word as an extension of the African oral tradition, as well as the origins of rap and the work of his student and friend Malik Al Nasir.

Jalal now spends his time mainly in Aix-en-Provence, in the south of France. He is currently working on his autobiography. In April 2008 he reunited and reconciled with fellow Last Poets Umar Bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole, along with David Nelson and Felipe Luciano, all of whom appear in Made In Amerikkka, a documentary by French film-maker Claude Santiago.

On September 11, 2009, Jalal appeared live in New York, a return to the United States after more than twenty years.

Selected discography

  • On The One
  • The Fruits Of Rap
  • Science Friction
  • Long Enough 12" (The Last Poets)
  • Mean Machine (1984) 12"

The Last Poets

Further information: The Last Poets

Lightnin' Rod

  • Doriella Du Fontaine (Session Recorded By Alan Douglas in late 1969, with Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles)

Guest appearances

  • Material: The Third Power; E Pluribus Unum and Power Of Soul (Black Chant).
  • Working Week: Working Nights / 12" ; Stella Marina.
  • Apollo 440: Dude Descending A Staircase; Hustler Groove and The Children Of The Future.
  • Cosmo Vitelli: Video ; Science Affliction.
  • Silent Poets: Words and Silence; Inquizative, Derivative, and The Children Of The Future.
  • Faya Dub: Sings and Plays; Reggae Monk.
  • Seven Dub: Rock It Tonight; Land Of The Lost and Naturally.
  • Michel Benita: Drastic; Sky Screen.
  • Aktivist: Stereotape; Nouvelle Experience.
  • Various Artists: Acid Jazz And Other Illicit Grooves (spoken word — Introduction only)
  • Various Artists: 12" / 30 Ans Apres Martin Luther King.
  • Various Artists: Tempo Jazz Edition Volume 1 - Talking Loud; Mean Machine '90.
  • Malik & The OG's: "Rhythms of the Diaspora Vol II" (spoken word — Jazzoetry) CPR Recordings 2009 ; Malik's Mode.
  • Poetic Justice, directed by John Singleton. With Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur.
  • Word Up - From Ghetto To Mecca, produced by Shirani Sabaratnam - documentary for Fore-Word Press[1] with Mark T. Watson, Gil Scott Heron and Benjamin Zephaniah.
  • Art Blakey, directed by Dick Fontaine, featuring Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Courtney Pine and Steve Willamson.


External links

  • Jalal Mansur Nuriddin's website

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