1/  A.M.                                       (Hassan,Laswell)              8.39
  2/  Malcolm                                    (Hassan,Laswell)              5.38
  3/  Forty Deuce Street                         (Hassan,Laswell)              4.05
  4/  Personal Things                            (Hassan,Laswell)              4.38
  5/  Love                                       (Hassan,Laswell)              5.10
  6/  Bumrush                                    (Hassan,Laswell)              5.16
  7/  Rhythm Magic                               (Hassan,Laswell)              3.05
  8/  Niggers Are Scared Of Revolution           (Hassan,Laswell)              4.41
  9/  Vows                                       (Hassan,Laswell)              2.25
  10/ Twenty Five Years                          (Hassan,Laswell)              2.06

          Recorded at Orange Music, West Orange, New Jersey
          Engineered by Robert Musso
          Assistant engineer: James Dellatacoma
          Modulated by Bill Laswell
Umar Bin Hassan: voice; Bill Laswell: soundscapes; Aiyb Dieng: percussion; Hamid Drake: percussion.

          2001 - Baraka Foundation (USA), BKA??? (2x12")
          2001 - Baraka Foundation (USA), BKA0016 (CD)


The second solo record for Hassan, this time on the fittingly evolutionary Baraka Foundation label, To the Last is another collaboration with Bill Laswell and additionally features Ayib Dieng and Hamid Drake. In his fourth decade of educating and innovating with revolutionary cultural observations performed via a spoken word style that fathered modern hip-hop, this profound recording lays a bed of ambient, wide-mouthed drumming and slithery soundscapes underneath topics ranging from Harlem to the societal contributions of Miles Davis. Never has an artist taken a vocal delivery style so defined and made it sound as improvisational and fresh as Hassan's, who utilizes run-on phrasing like a jazz solo and teaches and inspires with his vocal trumpet -- holding his tongue for no one and stopping at nothing in his communication of soul, beauty, and empowerment. While some jazz vocalists scat, and this particular work feels more like jazz than hip-hop, the power here is the decision to actually say something with music, and this is not a new decision for this New York-based artist. "And I hear the voice of nature whisper, 'the victory is yours if you want it'," speaks Hassan in "A.M," and truth be told that is the theme of the entire statement made within the crucial record.

Nic Kincaid (courtesy of the All Music Guide, via the Get Music website)