“Hustlers Convention” by Lightnin’ Rod - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1973Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Superfly 30 years before gangster rap got naff, this terrific LP was conceived and executed by Jalal Mansur Nuriddin who had come to some degree of prominence in the last few years as a member of The Last Poets. His Lightnin’ Rod pseudonym was a one-off; a long-promised sequel never did materialise. For me, this is by far the most interesting album of 1973; a semi-autobiographical tale centred around “Sport” and “Spoon” – two young hustlers who each lay down £10,000 to attend a convention which can only be described as the hustlers World Cup, as a room full of sharks try to outdo each other in all sorts of ways, notably through shooting pool and playing cards. Predictably, they get tangled up in a financial disagreement that leads to a shootout and a police chase, culminating with a contemplative Sport on Death Row. On the album closer “Sentenced To The Chair”, we learn that he finally gets a reprieve after a long sweat: “It had cost me 12 years of my time to realise what a nickel and dime hustler I had really been, while the real hustlers were ripping off billions from the unsuspecting millions who are programmed to think they can win.” The real-life twist-in-the-tale comes from Kool and the Gang who had underpinned this work with funky grooves and some neat brass. Robert ‘Kool’ Bell would later lament: “we never got paid for what we did”. Beware those 2-bit hustlers y’all!

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:35] 6.7.png Lightnin’ Rod - Sport (Alafía Pudím, Kool and The Gang) Disco / Funk
A2 [01:13] 6.4.png Lightnin’ Rod - Spoon (Alafía Pudím, Gene Dinwiddie) Disco / Funk
A3 [01:47] 7.0.png Lightnin’ Rod - The Café Black Rose (Alafía Pudím, Gene Dinwiddie) Disco / Funk
A4 [02:42] 8.4.png Lightnin’ Rod - Brother Hominy Grit (Alafía Pudím, Gene Dinwiddie) Hip Hop / Rap
A5 [02:23] 7.0.png Lightnin’ Rod - Coppin’ Some Fronts For The Sets (Alafía Pudím, Gene Dinwiddie) Hip Hop / Rap
A6 [04:06] 8.6.png Lightnin’ Rod - Hamhock’s Hall Was Big (And There Was A Whole Lot To Dig!) (Alafía Pudím, Buddy Miles) Hip Hop / Rap
B1 [02:59] 7.2.png Lightnin’ Rod - The Bones Fly From Spoon’s Hand (Alafía Pudím, Kool and The Gang) Hip Hop / Rap
B2 [03:11] 8.0.png Lightnin’ Rod - The Break Was So Loud, It Hushed The Crowd (Alafía Pudím, Gene Dinwiddie) Hip Hop / Rap
B3 [03:44] 8.3.png Lightnin’ Rod - Four Bitches Is What I Got (Alafía Pudím, Kool and The Gang) Disco / Funk
B4 [01:34] 7.2.png Lightnin’ Rod - Grit’s Den (Alafía Pudím, Eric Gale) Hip Hop / Rap
B5 [03:35] 8.7.png Lightnin’ Rod - The Shit Hits The Fan Again (Alafía Pudím, Tom Clack) Hip Hop / Rap
B6 [01:39] 8.4.png Lightnin’ Rod - Sentenced To The Chair (Alafía Pudím, Eric Gale) Soul Ballad

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