Jalal Mansur Nuriddin Pt.3

“Miles was a fan of the Last Poets, so we performed together and Miles gave me a hug. And when you get a hug from Miles, you ain’t got to worry about nobody else applauding you or saying, “You know what you’re bad man!” When the jazz musicians tell you you’re on point, then you’re on point…”
Jalal Mansur Nuriddin

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Photo: Courtesy of Carl Hyde

The Dood: Have any of your children shown any interest in the music business?

Jalal: The youngest daughter. I’ve got three sons and six daughters. The rest of them, they saw me suffering, so they didn’t want to go that way – they got professions. You’ve got to pay the costs to be your own boss; you’ve got to pay the dues if you want to live life you choose. In my case it was divine providence; but you got to follow the voice in the back of your head. Do what you were meant to do; you have a purpose find it! But it’s a needle in a haystack, because they put a haystack there (laughs). The haystack is in your mind; you’ve got to find that needle, open up your mind. Remember to remember what you forgot to remember.

The Dood: There’s a song called “Remember to Remember.”

Richmond Trew: Rick Holmes.

The Dood: It’s like an accountant who is restricting the expressive or creative being inside him because he has a wife family and a mortgage?

Jalal: Right, Right, Right. If a man wants to protect his family, he needs to be out front he don’t need to be sitting in the house with the women and children – that’s what he does after everything is safe. But as long as things ain’t safe, and he’s got things to worry about, who’s crossing his border, catching him at three o’clock in the morning while he is sleeping in bed with his wife, kicking the door down, talking about up against the wall, we don’t like the way you think; then the man needs to be out front. Then this way they will come to his house, but they’ll say, “Okay, you’ve got a family? Well look here, you’re going to play ball or you won’t have a family at all.” Then he’ll respond, “Oh Yeah! We ain’t all that happy in life, the worst thing we can do is kill ourselves. We’re going to die anyway, therefore you can’t threaten us with this, were already dead, we’re trying to come back alive. (Laughs)

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Photo: Courtesy of Carl Hyde

The Dood: That’s the worst kind of human being, a man who doesn’t have anything to lose; he’ll run out all guns blazing.

Jalal: The thing about it is, you don’t want to start shit you can’t finish, because what comes around goes around. So if you start, at the end of the day it’s going to come back to you – they call it karma. So there’s no other reward for good other than good; so if you do good you’re going to get a good return, and if you don’t get a good return it is because somebody stole your goods. (Laughs)

The Dood: Can you talk about the effects of cocaine and heroin on jazz musicians; like John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday or Gil Scott- Heron for example?
Jalal: It’s the pain man; it’s the pain! You see the pain is in Blues; most music is Blues-based, and blues is a secular aspect of gospel music. It just gives you the details of day-to-day disappointment and conflicts and obstacles. As long as someone can manipulate one group against another group and they stand on the side and referee, then it’s like when two elephants fight the grass gets trampled. So if you’re grassroots and two elephants are fighting, you don’t have nothing to do with that!
(At this juncture that gives a pound coin so homeless man asking for change)

Jalal: It don’t hurt me to give him some money; it don’t hurt me to give anybody any money. But for the grace of the most high, there I go.

Richmond Trew: Do you think it’s a direct plan by any agency to put narcotics in particular areas?

Jalal: Definitely! No doubt about it! Listen, does it grow in your backyard?

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Jalal & Richmond Trew (Abstract Word)

Photo: Courtesy of Carl Hyde

Richmond Trew: Not at all.

Jalal: So if it’s not growing here, then it’s growing someplace else, which means they’ve got to imp ort it. And it can’t really get in unless somebody turns a blind eye, gets their palm greased; because they know where it’s going, it’s going into the poor communities. And they know the customers because people are depressed! So all those jazz musicians you’re talking about, they were all depressed. They were depressed because they had to either sing for their supper or play for their supper. People didn’t know that they were trying to get the pain out; the pain in their hearts and the pain in their minds, not to mention the pain in their ass!

The Dood: This is why their music was so “Real?”

Jalal: I’m not saying that they should have gone way, but I understand why, because I’ve been there! (Slams his palm on the table) Now you’ve got to go through a process where you’ve got to defeat yourself; in other words you’ve got to throw away your crutches. I got to stand tall, I’ve got to walk straight, I can’t have no habits. That’s only going to give you temporary relief and treat the symptoms, where as you need to treat the cause. Treat the cause and you eliminate the symptoms, if you treat the symptoms, you prop up the cause and get a relapse – the same thing happens again. You’ve got to understand the connection. The kidney controls the emotion of fear, the liver controls the emotion of anger, the heart controls the emotion of joy, the spleen controls the emotion of sadness, the lungs control the emotion of worry. Any excess or deficiency in any one of these emotions, then you’re going to be emotionally ill – illin’ instead of chillin’. You’re going to be doing things that you are really unwilling to do. But they’ve got you through food, clothing and shelter, they’ve got you!

Richmond Trew: Was there any programs initiated by people in the community to help those suffering with substance abuse?

Jalal: Yes there was, but they became corrupt. They put a methanol, which was a synthetic drug made from the World War II drug invented by the Nazis called Darvon own that became synthetic heroin. So they just replaced it with another thing.

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Photo: Courtesy of Carl Hyde

Richmond Trew: What about the many religious orientated programmes such as The Nation of Islam and the Five Percenters. What effect they have on the community?

Jalal: It was the divisive. My advice is to take the best and leave the rest. As far as religion goes it’s between your maker and you, everything else is how one should conduct oneself.

Richmond Trew: Do you have an opinion on the Nation of Islam now which is now led by Minister Farakhan?

Jalal: No, I can’t be bothered by that.

The Dood: Did you know that he used to record music prior to joining the Nation of Islam?

Jalal: Who, Minister Farakhan? Yeah! I knew that. I’m way up on him! I don’t factor him into my equations. I know what’s up.

The Dood: What does your name mean in its entirety?

Jalal: It means “Majestic of the Faith.” Jalal is an attribute of creator, “Majestic.” Jalal represents the colour black, and black makes seen that which cannot be seen. So when I say the colour black, I’m talking about space black… Outside of the Earth’s atmosphere – that’s Jalal, that’s the Majesty!

The Dood: And Mansur?

Jalal: “Supported Victor”

The Dood: And Nuriddin?

Jalal: “Light of the Faith”

The Dood: So do you put that together

Jalal: Majestic of the Faith, Supported Victor, Light of the Faith. So I keep my lights on, that’s why I’m Lightnin’ Rod, Schoolyard Bob. Lightning conducts energy. It’s the appliance of the science; the science is metaphysical, it’s not tangible, it’s intangible. But because of the technology, which we call trick-nology, you get diverted, so you’re not using all that you were born with. You might not even know he’s is there. I’ll give you an example – one time I was in London man, I guess it was the early nineties, late eighties.

To Dood: Was this when you were in exile?

Jalal: Yeah, when I was in exile. And I came up here with Malik, who was a young student back then, and he was staying with his girl and I slept on the couch. And something came in the middle of the night and was attacking me from behind, paralysed my body. My subconscious mind woke me up; , “Yo Yo Yo bro! Wake up man wake up!” Said before I can even say, “Hey wait a minute man I know I talk to myself, but I haven’t heard before?!” He said, “Yeah man, well listen, we ain’t got time to discuss that now, you ain’t got time now, I’m serious!”

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Photo: Courtesy of Carl Hyde

I said, “About what!” I’m sleeping at this time, and having this conversation in my mind. So my subconscious said, “There is some unknown paranormal activity down, you don’t believe me, try to move?” I said, “My eyes are closed, I can’t open my eyes.” I’m awake now in my mind, but I’m paralysed. I thought this is serious. So I asked, “How do I resolve this? He said, “You have to use spiritual Kung -Fu.” I said, “But I don’t know spiritual.” He said, “Yes you do, and if you don’t, then you better learn.” So I projected my Soul out of my body; Now my Soul is floating on the ceiling looking down. I can see the street lamp shining down on the street – I’m in London.

The curtains came a little bit twilight, and I looked down on the couch and I see my body, and small figures, one in front of me and one at the back of me. So I’m saying, “Oh shit man, what is that?” Now normally my mind being blown saying, “Guess what man, you’re up man out of your body!” But I didn’t even have time to deal with that. So my Soul dived back into my body. The impact of my Soul coming back into my body was enough to move my body.

The Dood: So you weren’t paralysed anymore?

Jalal: There was something pressing on my back into trying to put something in or take something out. Anyway what happened was I had to use (spiritual) Kung-Fu when I got back in my body. The kung fu was a breathing technique that use. Look at my mouth (Jalal demonstrates the technique by shouting without moving his lips). Do you see how loud that was? And that shook up whatever it was. My eyes were open now and I used my peripheral vision to see what it was. I saw a figure from the shoulders up, with an aura around it, like a force-field, that looked like those lights on aeroplane.
No eyes, no face, pure black like outer space, with an aura around. I said, “Oh shit, this is deep!” When I saw that, that’s when I broke free, with a kiyaaarrrh! So I had to go back to karate training, which is my first Marshall Art in order to break that paralysis. I turned around real quick once my body was free and a puff of black smoke disappeared into thin air. Now that’s the paranormal. What it was I don’t know.

The Dood: Has it ever happened before or since?

Jalal: Yes it happened again in Spain, but only it was different this time – it was frightening!

Richmond Trew: Can you comprehend what was happening?

Jalal: Well I can comprehend this man, there’s more things you can’t see then can see. I can comprehend that. What it’s purpose was, what it wanted, I don’t know, it was threatening my life as far as i was concerned. Whether it had good intentions or bad intentions, i don’t know. All I know is when you threaten my life I’m banging out, I’m not hanging out! But this is what I mean when I say metaphysical; science is metaphysical. So maybe something wanted to communicate with me. Miles (Davis) had just passed away, I was already in mourning, because I knew Miles.

The Dood: What was Miles Davis like?

Jalal: If you knew your stuff and you was a Master, Miles was the best kind of cat you want to hang out with. But if you didn’t know your shit, don’t even approach Miles man!

The Dood: He’d clock you straight away?

Jalal: He’d clock you a mile down the road. Miles was a fan of the Last Poets, so we performed together and Miles gave me a hug. And when you get a hug from Miles, you ain’t got to worry about nobody else applauding you or saying, “You know what you’re bad man!” When the jazz musicians tell you you’re on point, then you’re on point; you ain’t got to get it from no newspaper, you ain’t got it from no journalist, you ain’t got to get it from no official in government – you understand what I’m saying!

You asked about collaborations – if the artist is sure nuff on point and they’re bad, I don’t care if it’s the late Pavarotti, but I could throw down with him, I can write lyrics to the opera. I don’t believe in limiting myself. The sky ain’t the limit, death is, biological deterioration. Other than that, go for all you know, and if you don’t know, learn! There are those who don’t know that they don’t know; then there are those who don’t know that they don’t know and they want to know; then there are those who think they know and don’t know; then there are those who know, because they remembered what they knew. When you remember what you knew, then that’s brand-new, because you had forgot it. It’s like discovering yourself all over again, you say to yourself, “I didn’t know I had all this bullshit in my head. So what should I do now? Okay, slay the bull, eat steak and flush the shit down the toilet!”

The Dood: I didn’t go to university, but if there was a Jalal University, I would be there, and I’d have a purpose.

Richmond Trew: For sure.

Jalal: Feed a cold, starve a fever.

Richmond Trew: Are there any Jazz artists out there now that you would say are representing and mastering this art or this craft?

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Jalal & Ricmond Trew (Abstract Word)

Photo: Courtesy of Carl Hyde

Jalal: Jazz Warriors international! The British posse! (Laughs)

The Dood: Is the right answer! (We all laugh!)

The Jalal: That’s one; and Jeff King band from outta Brooklyn – my yard. My next collaboration will be with his eight piece band; that’s on the horizon. He’s a contemporary, he’s close to my age, I’m just a few years older than him. These cats are seasoned, well seasoned!

The Dood: What about Robert Glasper?

Jalal: Well I don’t know him, because I’ve been in the woodshed for thirteen years, I’ve been writing a book for thirteen years. I only came up for air because Malik dragged me out; because Mike Todd came from Manchester searching for me for one year.

The Dood: How did Mike Todd get Chuck D on board?

Jalal: Chuck D came on board because the bandwagon be rolling and it would be good for him.

The Dood: He’s the executive producer of the documentary.

Jalal: Look man, none of those rappers did anything for me, they’re all candy-rappers.

The Dood: But Q-Tip looked out for you?

Jalal: Q-Tip maintained his hipness and didn’t let that success go to the head. He wanted to deal with the real thing. He wanted to get to the real thing, so he was willing to listen. He helped me when I went back to New York, he paid for a place that I was staying in out of his pocket…He was the only one, the only one out of ALL the rappers. You would have thought that P-Diiddy or Kanye West would have said to me, “Look man, we appreciate that you hooked things up for us man, what can we do for you man?” Now they can’t get the time of day from me man. All they can get is, “Yo candy-rapper, get away from me, you’re not a poet, you’re an elementary school graduate!

The Dood: Would you say that straight their face?

Jalal: Not only would I say it straight to their face, if they don’t like it they can do something about it okay. But don’t pull out your gun – hand to hand, man to man, If you’re a real man. But if you’re a coward and you stand there and do some underhand bullshit, because you’re afraid to do shit yourself, that would be like the president of the country sending in his whole army to go fight some Third World, impoverished banana picking country while he is safe in his palace.

Richmond Trew: If it all goes to plan and the Hustlers Convention and Jalal are out there basically, then the status quo with the rappers would have been achieved.

Jalal: They would be obsolete. I started this and I know how to finish it! I’ll prove it when the Hustlers Detention gets recorded and I’ll prove it when my book is published, because i’ll record the entire book – Volume 1 and Volume 2 – 1000 pages, 400,000 paragraphs.

The Dood: That’s why you’ve been in the woodshed?

Jalal: That’s why I’ve been in the woodshed. You see the advice the jazz musicians gave me, Max Roach told me, “Master your axe.” You dig what i’m saying. He didn’t say master the business, he said master your axe. I took twenty-five years to master my axe. Now my axe is a spear and I’m going to turn it into a javelin. Then I’ll go to the Olympics and get the gold (laughs).

Richmond Trew: Jalal, thank you very much for your wisdom and thank you very much for your time.

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Jalal & Michael “The Dood” Edwards

Photo: Courtesy of Carl Hyde

The Dood: I second that emotion.

Jalal: That was a groove interview!

Michael J Edwards

Big Mike and ukvibe thanks to Malik Al Nasir from Malik & The O.G’s for arranging access to interview Jalal.

Essential Website:
http://www.grandfatherofrap.com

Essential Discography:
http://www.grandfatherofrap.com/discography

Essential un-released albums:
Hustlers Detention
Hustlers Ascension

Essential Biography: Coming soon…

Essential Reading:
Frantz Fanon – The Wretched of the Earth
Frantz Fanon – Black Skin, White Mask
Ilza Veith – The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine
Chester Bomar Himes – A Rage In Harlem
Chester Bomar Himes – Cotton Comes To Harlem
J.A. Rogers – World’s Great Men of Colour, Volume 1

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Jalal & Richmond Trew (Abstract Word)

Photo: Courtesy of Carl Hyde

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