Abiodun Oyewole – One of the First Last Poets – Talks About Legacy, and Hip Hop

1960s: Days of Rage

The Last Poets in 1970; half a century later—and counting—Oyewole is keeping poetry in the moment.

“A founding member of the American music and spoken-word group The Last Poets, Abiodun Oyewole is also known as a founding father of hip hop. Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Erykah Badu, and countless others cite The Last Poets as a major influence. ‘When The Revolution Comes,’ from the Last Poets’ eponymous 1970 debut album, has been sampled in ‘Party and Bullshit,’ by The Notorious B.I.G.; ‘Concerto in X Minor,’ by Brand Nubian; and ‘Prolly,’ by Sevyn Streeter, featuring Gucci Mane. Samples of ‘On the Subway,’ from the same album, have been used by Digable Planets. The list goes on. Oyewole was born Charles Davis, in Cincinnati, but grew up in Queens and regularly attended church in Harlem, a place of congregation, inspiration, and social measurement. His mother encouraged him to…

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