Malik & The OG's
Liverpool poet and music producer Malik Al Nasir recently teamed up with some heavy hitters in the music world, to showcase his poetry and songs at the sold out 40th Anniversary performance of the iconic “Hustlers Convention” by Jalal (Last Poets) at London’s Jazz Café on 10th Feb 2014, MC’d by none other than Poet Lemn Sissay. With Celebrities like George Clinton and Cathy Tyson in the house it was not surprising that it was regarded as a “Truly legendary session” (Gilles Peterson).
Paul Bradshaw said: “There were a lot of faces in the house and the level of anticipation high. It was down to Liverpudlian poet and prime mover behind this project, Malik Al Nasir to open the set with a hand picked ensemble called the O.G’s. Mentored by both Jalal and the late great Gil Scott Heron, Malik brought his own poetic life experience to the event and his no nonsense delivery came wrapped in the warm, versatile vocals of Cleveland Watkiss and Chantelle Nandi.”
Following on from the success of Hustlers Convention, Malik & The O.G’s put together a series of events in tribute to Gil Scott-Heron as part of Liverpool International Music Festival 2016 and packed the prestigious St Georges Hall with fans opening a showcase which included Talib Kweli, Aswad and others. The event made the front pages of the regional Music press and The Guardian.
Malik’s work is reminiscent of his mentors and lifelong friends, the late great Gil Scott Heron, & Last Poet - Jalal Nuriddin - a.k.a “Lightnin’ Rod’ who schooled Malik ever since meeting them both in Liverpool back in 1980’s.
Malik spent years touring with Gil and also had the great privilege to write a song for him before he died. Gil recorded the song called ‘Black & Blue’ which features on Malik & the O.G’s as yet unreleased double album, entitled “Rhythms of the Diaspora Vol 1.” If that wasn’t enough of an accolade for an aspiring revolutionary black poet, how about this? Jalal actually wrote a poem about his encounters with Malik called “Malik’s Mode” which features on “Rhythms of the Diaspora Vol 2.” Whilst the Last Poets & Gil Scott Heron, referred to as The Grandfather & Godfathers of RAP respectively, have been sampled to death by the likes of Kanye West, Common, Talib Kwale, Public Enemy and more, few if any, can claim to have been both schooled under their very hands with the recordings to prove it. This put’s Malik in a category all by himself.
Malik’s repertoire with his band “The O.G’s” features a tribute to Richie Havens, the black folk music legend, who opened Woodstock in 1969 with the song “Freedom – Motherless Child” which has been covered by Paul Robeson, Eric Clapton and more recently John Legend, but ‘Malik & the O.G’s’ take on it has a twist, blending spoken word verses (à la Gil Scott Heron), interspersed with sweet backing vocals.
Malik described his work, as “A quiet revolution” saying, “Poetry and music can be a force for good and revolution is nothing but change that should bring benefits. So when you combine revolution and poetry and set it to music, you can make people think how to make a change that is beneficial.”
Under the influence of Music Director Orphy Robinson (Don Cherry Band) Malik & the O.G’s has evolved to perform an innovative set, utilising an eclectic blend of musical and vocal elements, with a politically charged poetic polemic, that we haven’t seen in the UK since Billy Bragg, Linton Kwesi Johnson and John Cooper Clarke.