The Grandfather of Rap and Jimi Hendrix:
Under Jalal's Nom De Plume (Lightnin' Rod) he recorded his first solo rap record, with Jimi Hendrix in Jimi's studio, Electric Ladyland, located in mid-town Manhattan, in the heart of New York City, in the summer of '68.
Jimi first got hip to me through Alan Douglas, owner and President of his self-named independant record label, Douglas Records.
Four months earlier, my group, The Last Poets, had recorded our first album, the self-titled: The Last Poets, with Douglas acting in the capacity of "executive producer"; which meant that he provided the finance and the facilities, and we provided the artistry.
Douglas had been sounding out the album, by playing It for various people within the music industry, to gauge their reaction to it, and amoung them was Jimi Hendrix.
The first Last Poets album was rich in revolutionary thought content, with a tapestry of profound poetry, within enlightning mind metaphors, and backed by traditional african percusion, and it sounded like voices that had come from straight out of the drums.
Upon hearing this, Jimi became intrigued. Now suddenly, here was a record that set the record straight, and it hadn't even been released yet.
Douglas had been in close contact with Jimi, and had artistic and business interest, and by turning him on to the Last Poet, had managed to impress Jimi, as well as everybody else, and had set himself up in the alternative music market, with his independant label.
Jimi, like a lot of other black artists,within the blues and jazz genre, saw Douglas as the key to expand into other areas of music in collaboration with other black artists that were respected and admired by the public.
Douglas had acquired a reputation, for being affiliated with black artists which had been enhanced by his association with the Last Poets, and later on from his release of two Malcolm X albums , containing his speeches, which he had negociated in a contract with the late Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X.
Over a period of decades, Douglas had accumulated a formidable catalog, on some of the premier jazz and blues musicians of their times, such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, featuring Max Roach and Charlie Mingus in a trio, which was called "Money Jungle."
He also put out albums on Kenny Durham, Art Blakey, and Muddy Waters, plus Eric Dolphy, and later on after Jimi's death, he posthumously released two albums on Jimi.
Courtesy of our managers, "The East Wind Associates", he now had the Last Poets in his repertoire. The problem was though, was that he didn't know what to do about it, and so the album hadn't been released yet.
Nevertheless, he proceeded to assure me that the album would be released. Eight months later, in the following year during the spring of 1970 I called him up to ask about the album, and he told me that Jimi had heard the album, and it knocked him out, and that he wanted to meet me, and had proposed that we do a track together.
I had mixed feelings about it at first, because although I had heard of him, at that time I was not exactly a fan of his, in as much as I was busy developing my own art, and my personal interest was my involvement in black music, which was more into Bebop, Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Doo Wop and Afro-Cuban Jazz, with Gospel as my harmonic source point.