Fondly remembered as the “Godfather of Rap,” spoken-word pioneer Jalal Mansur Nuriddin died Monday at age 74.
In an age when many critics have accused rap music of losing its way, Nuriddin’s death underscores a pivotal turning point from the days of heartfelt lyricism to the current landscape of nauseating opulence and bravado within rap culture. Nuriddin’s body of work spans more than two decades, but he’s most known for contributing to the success of 1970’s lyrical group “The Last Poets.”
Nuriddin contributed to the Last Poets’ 1970 debut album as well as the follow-up, “This Is Madness.” These albums, which blended elements of percussion with voracious overtones of political parlance, are widely regarded as crucial early examples of hip-hop.
“It is with extreme sadness and a heavy heart that the family of Jalal Nuriddin announce the passing of this great pioneer of the recording industry,” his family said in a statement. “Jalal slipped quietly away this evening into the arms of Allah.” No cause of death was revealed.
Nuriddin was born in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY in 1944. In a statement, his family said that “details regarding his jananza (funeral) will be forthcoming shortly.”