Jason Plews

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Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin

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A devout Muslim, poet, acupuncturist, and martial art exponent (a practitioner of a form of Bak Mei), he was incarcerated and was given early release on condition that he join the US Army, where he trained as a paratrooper but was imprisoned again within the Army for refusing to salute the Flag. He did, however, received an honourable discharge and went to work for a bank on Wall Street. It was his experience there that spawned his poem "E-Pluribus Unum", released on Bill Laswell's label Axiom Records, a subsidiary of Chris Blackwell's Island Records. Jalal converted to Islam and learned to spiel, an early form of rap, which he called "spoagraphics" or "spoken pictures". It was also known as toasting, which was a form of rhythmic spoken poetry accompanied by ad hoc percussion by prison inmates, such as the famous Signified Monkey toast popularised by comedian Dolamite (not to be confused with the "toast" of Jamaican DJs, which is more reggae than rap). Jalal's talent and genius with words and rhythm are renowned and he has produced some epic poems such as "Be-Yon-Der", an 18-minute piece on The Last Poets album Delights of the Garden, which was released on Celluloid Records.