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Father Amde Hamilton

Icon & Legend - A Watts Prophet

Official Website:

Watts Prophets
          Talk Up not down...Young Artists in Motion

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  • Ebony Creole Whispers: Slices of Life

             An'sestrel Evolution of Louisiana Black Creole Poets

  • Journey of a Street Poet: Me Today, You Tomorrow

  • The Rising Sons

  • Poetic Reflections 

Albums:
  • 1969 - The Black Voices: On the Streets in Watts

  • 1971 - Rappin' Black in a White World

  • 1997 - When the 90's Came

  • 2005 - Things Gonna Get Greater:

                   The Watts Prophets 1969-1971 (compilation)

  • 2015 - Difficultez Technical

  • 2023 - Ebony Creole Whispers

Accolades
  • Rolling Stone Magazine wrote:  THE 40 MOST GROUNDBREAKING ALBUMS OF ALL TIME THE WATTS PROPHETS: BLACK VOICES: ON THE STREET IN WATTS.  A path-finding moment in the pre-history of hip-hop, the debut album from this Los Angeles poetry collective — full of minimalist beats and brilliant wordplay nearly a decade before the first recorded rap song — still feels relevant 45 years later.​

  • Recorded with Quicy Jones (Mellow Madness) Beautiful Black Woman 

  • A documentary produce by PBS station KCET and the Watts Prophets, Victory Will Be My Moan, was nominated for an Emmy

  •  "Father Amde" baptized the great Nina Simone in the early 1980's

  • At the request of the Bob Marley family Father Amde recites the poem "Wisdom and Knowledge"at Bob Marley's funeral services in Jamaica.  It appears in the video "Land of Look Behind".

  • Amde recorded with his old school day friend Don Cherry's on the Multi-Kulti album.

Date of Birth:

February 27th, 1940

Father Amde Hamilton

Photo by Garret Davis

One of the first rappers in history, a Catholic-raised Creole with strong Louisiana roots and a bone to pick with the powers that be.

Anthony “Amde” Hamilton lives in California and performs with the World Renown Watts Prophets, with whom he also conducts residency programs for teens in schools and art centers from coast to coast. “He’s old, but he’s cool,” is a frequent comment heard among the thousands of young people who have been influenced by Amde's powerful voice and experience. These programs culminate with performances of rapping, singing, dancing, scatting, and drumming that give young people a voice they never knew they had. his work has been sampled on hundreds of hip hop songs, including artists such as N.W.A., Redman, Tupac, Jimmy Poindexter, Pooh-Man, ScHoolboy Q feat. Ab-Soul, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, DJ Shadow, Digable Planets, and Too Short...just to name a few.

Life Experience

In the Beginning...1967

Civil Rights & Black Power Era

In 2003 - Quincy Jones

The Watts Prophets started at Budd Schulberg’s Watts Writers Workshop. He was a Hollywood [screenwriter and novelist] who came to Watts shortly after the riots — almost when the flames were still burning. His career was at a low, and he saw that one little building was left standing at 10950 Central, and so he went in there and asked what he could do. And all he could do was write, so he said he’d start a writing program. That was the beginning of Budd Schulberg’s writing workshop. Amde came to the workshop in 1967, and that’s where he started his career as a poet. "You don’t become a poet until your lines are living."  ~Amde Hamilton

The story of the Watts Prophets begins shortly after the riots. Coming out of that Watts Writers Workshop, Father Amde formed a group called The Watts Prophets. And from that group came the first rap album ever on earth under, called “Rapping Black in a White World”. That’s what named and coined rap as an art form. Before that, it was just a colloquial word amongst African Americans.  It was a word that means you could really talk.

The Watts Prophets are a living bridge to the Rebellion that happened at the midpoint of the Sixties, and became the hinge on which the Civil Rights Era became the Black Power Era. The cultural aftershocks would reverberate for generations. 

The Watts Prophets are an important part of the histories of hip-hop and the African American Cultural Movements.  In 2003, Quincy Jones called the Watts Prophets and the Last Poets "the seminal figures in our culture, just as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were in the bebop revolution of the 1940s." 

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