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Founder of rap music visits UCLan

18 June 2015

Lyndsey Boardman

University welcomes Hustlers Convention rapper as part of Standing Together Against Racism campaign  

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has welcomed the man generally considered to be the founder of rap music to share his story of the genre’s greatest lost album, Hustlers Convention.

Jalal Nuriddin of the Last Poets, often known as the Grandfather of Rap, came to Preston along with Liverpool poet and music producer Malik Al Nasir for UCLan’s screening of a film which tells the untold story of the 1973 album that is regarded as a cornerstone in the evolution of hip hop.

The documentary, also called Hustlers Convention, explores the life and times of Jalal whose album is an epic rhymed story of a fast-talking hustler by the name of Sport who shares his street tales of card sharks, gamblers, dope peddlers and thieves. The album never achieved commercial fame but the next generation of rappers including Wu Tang, the Beastie Boys and Jungle Brothers have all paid homage to it.

The UCLan event, one of only a handful of the film’s screenings in the UK, was organised by UCLan Honorary Fellow and Chair of the University’s Creative Communities Group Russell Hogarth in partnership with Rizwan Iqbal from the Love and Etiquette Foundation as part of its Standing Together Against Racism (STAR) campaign.

 

“The University is very proud to work with the Love and Etiquette Foundation in its Standing Together Against Racism campaign. Showcasing the Hustlers Convention is a great platform to launch this."

Russell said: “We are delighted to welcome Jalal, Malik and Rizwan to UCLan, along with the rest of the Hustlers Convention and Love and Etiquette Foundation teams, for this very special screening.

“The University is very proud to work with the Love and Etiquette Foundation in its Standing Together Against Racism campaign. Showcasing the Hustlers Convention is a great platform to launch this as what better way is there to create a mutual understanding and appreciation of different cultures than through art, food, music and film.”

Rizwan Iqbal, Creative Director of the Lancashire based Love and Etiquette Foundation which aims to make a difference to places, lives and communities through art, history and culture, commented: “This film is so important and highlights how the album has influenced and shaped music over the last 40 years or so.

“Screening the film in Preston is special and means a lot to local artists, communities and radio who have in some way been touched by the positive elements of hip hop and rap rather than the negative messages that seem to permeate through media and film.

 

“The oral tradition is passed on from each generation and Jalal has always been a great teacher, mentor and advocate for the maintenance of that tradition in poetry.”

“The historic value of the film is even more important today given racism has so many more faces than just relating to the colour of skin. Racism is suffered silently by so many from different backgrounds even today, and it is crucial that we provide a platform for understanding each other.”

Malik Al Nasir, Associate Producer of the film, poet and student of Jalal, commented: “Working with the production team on the Liverpool and London segments of this epic film was an honour, in particular producing the London 40th Anniversary show at the Jazz Café the film, where Jalal asked me to both produce the show and also to open the show with my band Malik & the O.G’s.

“The oral tradition is passed on from each generation and Jalal has always been a great teacher, mentor and advocate for the maintenance of that tradition in poetry.”

Before the screening Jalal and Malik also took part in a hip hop demonstration in the entrance to the UCLan Foster building.

Russell added: “The evening was a tremendous success and in addition to the fascinating question and answer session with fans who came to the event, the audience were also treated to poetry and rap from Jalal live on stage.

“The audience of musicians, University staff, students and community members all commented on the quality of the documentary and were delighted to have taken part in such a unique musical experience.”

See more images from the visit on our Flickr gallery.