Executive Produced by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, and directed by Mike Todd, “Hustlers Convention” is a documentary film on the forgotten roots of rap. The film centers around the life and times of Jalal Mansur Nuriddin of The Last Poets, and the forgotten influence of his seminal record “Hustlers Convention” (also the title of the film) – 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 Five Freddy and Melle Mel can still recite the album word for word.
Animation sequences bring to life the epic story contained within “Convention,” as its themes interweave with the history and culture that is being explored. Footage from iconic Blaxploitation films of the era and historical archive further bring the period to life a tale of how a sub-culture evolved, as well as a personal and human story of Jalal’s own struggles.
Taking its title from the album, the film reveals the deep roots rap music has in the oral tradition of the Jail Toast – rhymed storytelling filled with larger than life characters. In “Hustlers Convention,” Jalal’s toasting style met the politics of the post-Malcolm X era and gave birth to rap as we know it today.
In the words of Fab Five Freddy, “Hustlers Convention” is “the greatest toast of them all.”
The film continues its international film festival tour and will next screen at the International Film Festival Rotterdam next month. It’s also available on home video platforms like iTunes, Amazon Video and DVD (released last October).
Check out a trailer for the documentary below: