” The Last Poets were, along with Gil Scott-Heron, among the most important chroniclers of the urban revolt of the 60s and early 70s.” -David Whiteis (The Chicago Reader, 1990)
Spoken word group The Lost Poets laid the foundation for the music genre that we know as Hip-Hop. The original group consisting of Gylan Kain, David Nelson, and Felipe Luciano formed May 19, 1968 at Marcus Garvey Park in East Harlem. Their music was a mix of jazz, poetry, and blues. Though The Lost Poets have gone through multiple members one thing remained constant, their racially charged, political lyrics, and their willingness to education the black community through music. The group emerged during the African-American Civil Rights Movement that led to the Black Power Movement. They also showed public support for the Black Panthers. The group’s self titled first album the “The Last Poets” reached number 3 on the black albums chart, number 11 for jazz albums, and number 29 on the pop album chart. Their song title’s were very direct with titles such as “Niggers Are Scared Of Revolution”, “White Man’s Got a God Complex” , and “Black People What Y’all Gon’ Do”. After the release of their second album “This is Madness”, it was listed by COINTELPRO under the Nixon administration. The COINTELPRO is an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program, which was a program that led projects to discredit or disrupt social organizations, these Federal Government led projects were often times done illegally. The Last Poets weren’t just about being rebels against the government, but more so about evoking change and standing for something rather than falling for anything.