The Last Poets' Origin Harlem, New York, United States of Genres Spoken word, hip-hop Years active 1968-present Labels Mercury PolyGram Celluloid Casablanca Do-Rite Records Independent
The Last Poets are an American poetry group founded by Antwan "Ant" Davis and Gil Scott Heron. The group is best known for its 1967 poem "The Star-Spangled Banner", which has been covered by many musicians.
Davis and Heron met while attending Columbia University in New York City. There they became close friends with poet Sonia Sanchez. The trio decided to form a group that would express social issues through rap music. They started out performing in campus coffee shops but soon began receiving mail orders for tapes of their shows. This led them to start their own label, Celluloid Records, which released eight albums over five years. The Last Poets disbanded in 1972 when Davis went to England to study at Oxford University. He returned two years later and worked with Casablanca Records until his death in 2018 at the age of 70. Scott Heron continued to work on music projects into the early 1990s before dying of cancer in January 1993 at the age of 36.
Beat poetry developed in both New York City and on the west coast throughout the 1940s, with San Francisco emerging as the movement's epicenter in the early 1950s. After WWII, poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Gregory Corso began to critique conventional politics and society. They were also dissatisfied with the limitations of traditional rhyme and meter, which they felt prevented deep thought and expression.
Beats are sections of a poem or song that can be played independently of other parts. Thus, a musician can play a bass line while another plays a melody above it, without either note feeling incomplete without the other. Beats are used in music journalism and popular culture to describe short episodes within an album track or single song. For example, one might say that the song contains several "bass lines" or that there are several sections where the band plays without singing.
In poetry, beats are commonly used to describe groups of three lines that can be read as a unit. These groups are called "curtains," since their purpose is to highlight important information or create dramatic effect without interfering with the flow of the speech or narrative.
The term "beat" comes from jazz music, where it describes the strong, steady pulse of a drummer. This type of rhythm is useful for calling attention to itself and therefore helps to attract listeners' interest and encourage them to listen further.
Kool Herc, a Jamaican DJ, pioneered hip-hop and rap. West African traditional poets initially influenced him. It wasn't long before both became popular and were employed, particularly in American ghettos. Hip hop has evolved over time into many different genres - from old school to new school, west coast rap to east coast rap.
Hip hop originated in Bronx, New York in 1973 by DJs Kool Herc, who used turntables and modems to break down barriers between musicians and their audiences, and the MCs (musicians) that performed alongside them. The term "hip hop" was coined by Leroi Jones, an author and activist who lived in Manhattan. In a 1972 article for The Village Voice, he called the emerging music and dance form "hop hop".
Herc's parties were so popular that they attracted thousands of people who wanted to hear the new style of music that he had created. This led to conflict with local residents who didn't appreciate the noise Herc was making with his set up, which included a microphone and a phonograph record player. They would break up his sets by throwing bottles at the machine or hitting it with baseball bats. Herc found another way to resolve this issue: he put a dollar bill on the turntable of one of his decks.