Umar Bin Hassan 

      latest update 6th April 2002 (click for Dutch version)

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  Rhythm Magic, 1996  


Umar Bin Hassan was born on 30th October 1948 in Akron, Ohio (United States). In 1969 he moved to Harlem, New York to become one of the Last Poets. These were radical Afro-American poets and are commonly seen as the fathers of hip-hop, because they were the first to read their poems to music (drums).

Earlier he had seen the famous Last Poets (then consisting of: Gylain Kain, Abiodun Oyewole, Felipe Luciano and the drummer Nilijah) perform during a concert in Yellow Springs, Ohio and it was as if lightning struck him, so moved was he by their poetry and music. Bin Hassan made three albums with the Poets: The Last Poets, This is Madness and At Last. Halfway the seventies Bin Hassan withdrew as a Last Poet to write plays. In the eighties he became addicted to cocaine and crack, but in the early nineties he made a comeback with a new cd Be Bop or Be Dead. With Abiodun Oyewole and drummer Babatunde he still performs under the name of The Last Poets. In this line-up they made two albums: Holy Terror and Time has Come.

In June 2002 he was in The Netherlands and performed at Poetry International in Rotterdam and in Vera in Groningen.

Please browse for more information about Umar Bin Hassan and click here for what Google knows about The Last Poets.
On a Mission: Selected Poems and a History of The Last Poets by Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan with Kim Green. Foreword by Amiri Baraka
Published by Henry Holt and Co, 1996; isbn 0-8050-4778-6

See also Christine Otten's site:, where there are two stories about Umar and Abiodun.


The music of the word
Now you hear it
Now you don't
Now you feel it
Now you won't
The thought of pure genius against all odds
And trying to love our children in fast lanes and subway cars
Tenderness between the stops
They smile
They smile
And touch our faces
The lyrics
The songs
The beat of death so painful
And the rejection of love's promise to come see us tomorrow
Your soul
My soul
All wanting to believe
In that touch
To believe it would always be there
To keep it healing
To keep it safe
To keep it warm
In the midst of cold and lifeless expressions
Too sensitive
Too afraid
Too human
And the cold blooded murder of imagination in women's eyes
Bunded by the sounds of trust
And the flesh and blood of true lovers
Depending in full moons and the sanity of mad musicians
In their right minds
Can't you hear the naked mornings
And the raindrops on the windowpane as the high leaves you
Rhythm magic
The music of the word
Now you hear it
Now you don't
Now you feel it
Now you won't

©  Umar Bin Hassan, 1996
(eerder te beluisteren op de cd Rhythm Magic van de percussionist Ayib Dieng, 1996)

Umar Bin Hassan:
Roots Records
1202 N. High St.
Columbus, Ohio 43201
tel: (614) 294-7611
fax: (614)294-7613


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This page is part of the daily poetry newspaper: Rottend Staal Online

© Umar Bin Hassan / © translation Willem Groenewegen / Rottend Staal Online 1996-2003. All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
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