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The best kept secret in music


"Stress Magazine"

One of the good things about spoken word is that they often tackle social issues head on and relentlessly. So in that sense, there's a riot going on here. In the tradition of revolutionary poets that helped birth the edge of lyrical Hip Hop, all the Second2Last poets seem amped, and dedicated to putting their thoughts down on point. They deliver verses with conviction and aren't holding back content wise. The production could be tighter. The opening track "Can't Feel Us Wit' Da Hands", remains too busy, with the whole group yelling at once, so it doesn't' grab a focus as quickly as it could. But that spoken word over beats usually don't even involve flow, I gotta to let you know that these cats are at least conscious of quarter notes and measures, so it beats most attempts to incorporate instruments into performance poetry. And some of the instrumentals do keep it going, like "Sweet In The Morning", which, true to its name, works easy like Sunday morning. The strongest tracks are "2 1/2 Minutes", a very laid back cut with well placed vocals and an organ groove that works like magic, and "Circular Thoughts", which is mad solid and should be released as a vinyl single if it already hasn't been. Thank Second2Last for not conforming to popular views of what a Hip Hop album should sound like and look out for 'em in the future. - Villalovejones


Those of us who have watched SECOND2LAST perform their cultural /spoken /musical /lyrical word magic live for the past six years have waited eagerly for say word, the group’s first CD. SECOND2LAST is a group of four friends who started in a dorm room decked out with candles and incense and a shared need to speak poetry.

As a unit, the original group of four expanded to nine people calling themselves Second 2 Last Poets. In 1995 the nine were producing shows featuring the likes of Ruby Dee and Louis Reyes River. Then five members of the group performed to a sold-out crowd at the Nuyorican Poets Café, dropping their unique blend of voices, poetry, music on an audience that couldn’t get enough. The ball was rolling.

The group further condensed into its current shape, featuring Johny Lashley, Badé Francis, B. Polite and Aisha Bell.

Over the next two years or so the group shifted and molded itself, finding a mission, a rhythm, a goal, testing the waters before varied crowds. The style that emerged was dynamic, with a touch of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica , Brooklyn, and Manhattan. The minds behind this project are artists, architects, computer scientists, teachers, emcees and, ultimately, poets. Aisha brings the soulful feminine touch to the three male voices, Johny pulls in the Caribbean accent that sounds both familiar and foreign, B.Polite is the poetic professor, and Badé sounds like the hip-hop underground exploding off the paper. The product: say word, a compilation of poetry, music and thought.

The group functions as a collector, taking pieces of thoughts and making them whole, overlapping their diverse vocal talents with individual concepts, providing communion and contrast, and always coming to the type of climatic conclusion that most poets aim for and never reach. This CD is humorous, poignant, funky and memorable. Listening to it is entering into a space in which the questions are asked and answered while you are slipped back into the haze of the unknown when you’re just beginning to really understand.

Tacks that are famous from live performances such as “Slave ship” and “2 ½ minutes” are only improved by the studio work providing background and emphasis.

If you’ve seen the group perform live; if you are interested in the progression of the spoken world; if he concept of verbal revolutions entices you -- you simply must own this album. - Adrienne Maree


Debut Album released October 1999; 'say word' on


Feeling a bit camera shy


'Each generation must out of relative obscurity, define its mission fulfill it
or betray it.'
- Franz Fanon

When Johny Lashley, Bade Francis, Brian Polite and Aisha Bell step on a stage a natural revolution occurs. Fusing blues, soul, reggae and hip-hop, Second2Last mixes poetry and rhythm for an unmistakable sound that is anything but obscure. This musical quad tackles complex social issues and delivers soul with strong conviction, providing an unexpected blend of conscious-raising words and beats.

Second2Last’s hard work led to feature performances with Ruby Dee (actress/activist), Louis Reyes Rivera (historian/poet), Jessica Care Moore (poet/publisher), Danny Glover (actor/activist), Sonia Sanchez (poet/professor/activist), Yusef Komunyakaa (1994 Pulitzer prize winner), The Pharcyde and Mos Def (hip-hop trendsetters).
In addition, Second2Last has performed at innumerable venues including: MSNBC’s Here Arts Center, Nuyorican Poet’s Café, The Bowery Poetry Club, CBGB Gallery, Rush Philanthropic Gallery, The Skylight Gallery, SOB's, The Knitting Factory, BAM Café, Joe’s Pub, Irving Plaza, Shine Night Club, Tishman Auditorium and Aaron Davis Hall among others.

Second2Last first debut their flawless execution of vocal percussion and live musicianship with the 1999 release, Say Word. Say Word received critical acclaim in the fall 1999 Independent Artist Report on, the June 2000 issue of Stress Magazine, the summer 2000 issue of Inner City Magazine and the spring 2001 issue of Blu Magazine. Second2Last’s musical endeavors have taken on an international leg by the recent inclusion on Japanese producer, Kaoru Inoue’s aka Chari Chari, sophomore album In Time.

Not only are the members of Second2Last performers but they have also presented visual art galleries, (domestic and abroad), moderated creative arts/entertainment panels, and instructed poetry/performance workshops. During the summer of 2004 Second2Last will release their second album entitled, Babble On (pronounced Babylon) and are currently producing independent documentary and video projects. Second2Last continues to be entrepreneurial in their efforts and created say word recordings/ Second2Last Inc., which currently provides t-shirts, music and other merchandise.

When asked what Second2Last's motivation was to continue to write and create, group member, Johny Lashley offered the words of one of their many admirers as the reason for their driving ambition, “Thank you...For poetry that challenges the injustices of existing worlds and creates space and possibilities for more just futures.”

Second2Last has a long line of influences, but one prominent quote by Franz Fanon drives their philosophy. With such powerful words as their mantra it is now safe to say that when asked “what does this generation have to say for them selves”?, we can now offer the unified voices of Second2Last.