Saturday, March 20, 2010
There was a point in my life (namely the early 90's) where I was buying every CD I could lay my hands on that I thought had something to do with N.W.A. and their version of gangsta rap. So if something accidentally stumbled into the "rap" section of my local Alwilk Records and it looked legit, $15 bucks later it was mine. I had seen Hustlers Convention hanging around in the "Misc D-L" section (or whatever) and was wary. Sure it had some kinda hard sounding songs like "Four Bitches Is What I Got" and "The Shit Hits The Fan Again". It was copyrighted 1990 so it had to be part of the new wave - although it was weird that The Source had no mention of it. I eventually bought it and what a surprise. Firstly, it was not what I expected - no gangsta rap here. And it was not a product of the 90's - it is actually a 1973 album finally seeing a CD release years later. So what did I buy? The best way I could describe Hustlers Convention is to imagine if someone spieled a 70's blaxploitation movie (The Mack definitely coming to mind) over Kool & The Gang funk. Yep, Lightnin' Rod (a.k.a. Jalal Nuriddin) smoothly raps an entire story of Sport and his boy Spoon complete with a supporting cast, sound effects and a nice little moral jab at the end. It's an amazing journey, completely addictive from start to finish. Buddy Miles (of Band Of Gypsys fame), Brother Gene Dinwiddie and Kool & The Gang (I wasn't making that up) provide the background music like a film score. Forget "Rapper's Delight", Hustlers Convention deserves to be in every hip hop library as a testament of the genre's true beginning. Jalal (who eventually became a member of the equally influential Last Poets) still plays music and has a few more solo albums to his credit including Doriella Du Fontaine in which he raps over a fantastic Jimi Hendrix/Buddy Miles jam session. Check it out.