Hustlers Convention



Hustlers Convention

Movie 1 hr 33 min Documentary
Completed April 2015

The story of rap’s seminal lost album which set in motion hip hop’s evolutionary chain and inspired some of its greatest artists.

History is distorted –‘cos it ain’t all there, so let’s examine the truth so we can clear the air – Jalal Mansur Nuriddin aka Lightnin’ Rod

This is a feature documentary on the forgotten roots of rap. The story centers around the life and times of Jalal Mansur Nuriddin of The Last Poets – and the forgotten influence of his seminal record ‘Hustlers Convention’. Along the way, it reveals the deep roots rap music has in the oral tradition of the Jail Toast. When Jalal’s toasting style met the politics of the post-Malcolm X era, we had the birth of rap as we know it today. By supporting us, you will be helping us preserve this world changing legacy.

We are a small but dedicated group who have committed the last two years of our lives to document the untold story of Jalal.

The core team is Mike Todd, who is Producer/ Director on the project, Quenell Jones who is Cinematographer and Producer, and Producer Lathan Hodge.  Other members of the team include Carlos Solorio, Emily Lewis-Dunn and Geseth Garcia.

The core team... Lathan Hodge, Mike Todd and Quenell Jones

Quenell and Mike are long-term collaborators. Their last partnership was on the critically acclaimed film Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears, which documented the demise of the late champion’s Philadelphia gym and told his true story for the first time.

Lathan is a highly experienced, award winning producer and a long-term collaborator with key figures from the Hip Hop world, having worked closely over the last decades with Chuck D and Public Enemy.

There has been a lot of goodwill towards the project from across the world, from those who care about Hip Hop culture, to those who know Jalal personally and who’s lives he has touched. Figures such as KRS One, Melle Mel, Chuck D and many others have expressed the debt they owe to both Jalal and The Last Poets.

Now we need your help. If you believe rap has changed the world, if you believe true history, the people’s history, matters – help us tell this story.


Sport by Esteban ValdezHustlers Convention is an album that changed the face of music. It gave the streets a voice and was recited in inner cities across America. Despite being largely forgotten, it still resonates with meaning today. The likes of Fab 5 Freddie and Melle Mel still know the album word for word.

Released in 1973 by original member of The Last Poets, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, the album tells the story of Sport and Spoon – two young hustlers who attend the eponymous convention, only to get tangled up in a shoot out and police chase. It finishes with Sport, on Death Row, weighing up what it all means.

Blending historic archive and images with interviews from some of the key figures in Hip Hop history, and using unique animated sequences set to the album, we look at Hustlers Convention in its wider social context and Jalal’s personal story as one of rap’s pioneers.

In addition, we tell a story within a story of the making of the album and how Jalal is still fighting today to earn a living from the music he’s made – and of his efforts to tell the complete story of Sport through two sequels still awaiting release: The Hustlers Detention and The Hustlers Ascension.

The film will culminate in Jalal returning to the UK, a country he called home for a number of years, for the first ever live performance of Hustlers Convention.

Hustlers Convention the film will help give a unique piece of forgotten culture its rightful place in history. It will show how the past still lives in the present – and illustrate the human need to tell our stories.

We have already done extensive filming on the project and interviewed: Chuck D, KRS One, Melle Mel, Fab 5 Freddie, Amiri Baraka, The Last PoetsThe Watts Prophets, Sonia Sanchez, Ishmael Reid, Nelson George, Greil Marcus, Darius James, Alan Douglas and many more.


Hustlers Convention Album Cover

Jalal is a unique character – a 68-year-old Muslim, martial arts master, philosopher and poet, he epitomises an era of social turmoil and new cultural expression.

Having grown up in the Fort Greene projects of Brooklyn, Jalal joined the East Wind writers workshop in Harlem in the late 1960s and became part of the legendary spoken word group The Last Poets. In 1969, Jalal was one of the three members of the iconic New York group who released a self-titled debut album that was to be a defining moment in the Black Power movement.

Too radical for mainstream radio of the day, the album nevertheless went on to sell an estimated 1 million copies by word of mouth alone. Jalal and fellow Last Poet Umar Bin Hassn went on to record a follow up album ‘This is Madness’, that is cited by Vibe magazine as one of the top 100 albums of all time.

However, it is the album Hustlers Convention, Jalal’s first solo recording, that truly reflects the scale of his talent and vision. Combining the folk art of the Jail Toast, rhymed story telling filled with larger than life figures, with a potent message that reflected the politics of The Last Poets it is, in the words of Fab 5 Freddie “the greatest toast of them all.”


Hustlers Convention music provided courtesy of Charly Records