Monday, May 30, 2011

Grandfathers of Hip Hop: The Watts Prophets

With the passing of Gil Scott Heron the net is alive with references to his being the “grandfather of hip hop”.  The New York Times ended its obituary with a quote from GSH himself that sets the record straight: “[rap is] something that’s aimed at the kids. I have kids, so I listen to it. But I would not say it’s aimed at me. I listen to the jazz station.”

Along with Gil, commentators are (correctly) pointing out that there were other grandfathers responsible for hip hop, most notably The Last Poets, a band of urban street poets from Harlem who "With their politically charged raps, taut rhythms, and dedication to raising African-American consciousness, almost single-handedly laid the groundwork for the emergence of hip-hop."
The Watts Prophets
Less feted, less famous and hailing from the other great African American con-urbation on the other side of the American continent, south central Los Angeles, the Watts Prophets, also played a huge role in raising black consciousness, exposing the nightmarish aspects of the American dream and generally, freaking people out with their uncompromising, ballsy rap.  With poems like, Fucked (My name is fucked/fucked/ I was given that name because of my luck/you might think its cool/but I’ll break all your windows as soon as you move) and Amerikkka, a litany of famous African Americans who have died in less than dignified circumstances in ‘one nation under God’, it is hard not to feel your knees quiver slightly.  Especially, when you consider these raps were first put out in 1969!

Put this record on and sit back and listen to it without leaving your seat. It’s the only way. 

Hip hop ain’t got nothin’ on these granddads.

         Track Listing:
         01 Sell Your Soul
         02 Take It
         03 Instruction
         04 Amerikkka
         05 Dem Niggers Ain't Playing.mp3
         06 Pain
         07 What Is A Man
         08 A Pimp
         09 Tenements
         10 The Master
         11 Hello Niggers
         12 There's A Difference Between A Black Man And A Nigger
         13 What Is It, Sisters
         14 Everybody Watches
         15 Watch Out Black Folks
         16 The Prostitute
         17 Fucked
         18 Celebration
         19 What Color Is Black
         20 Black In A White World

Listen here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was a pleasure to listen to these tracks.