The Watts Prophets were a group of poets and musicians based in Watts, Los Angeles in the late 1960s. Much like their beatnik contemporaries they combined poetry and jazz music to create the incredible soundtrack to a cultural revolution, the main thing that separated the Watts Prophets from the Greenwich Village and Venice West beats was that they were heavily political and their strong militant beliefs were never held back, remaining at the forefront of their work much like their often-compared contemporaries The Lost Poets. Combine this lyrical content, staggering razor tongued and rapid-fire spoken word with their musical ability.. it provided the perfect soundtrack to the burgeoning civil rights movement and is still relevant and revelatory to this day.
The Watts Prophets were created in the wake of the Watts Riots in 1965 and have sporadically performed since then, sadly due to their heavy political content they've never secured much commercial success and there isn't a wealth of information available on them here in the UK. However if you're based in the US it may be worthwhile accessing a local library archive! Either way, there's a wealth of their incredible lyricism and poetry available in book form and on CD. I've salvaged a couple of my favourite clips luckily from YouTube for your listening pleasure!
Further Listening... I would highly recommend -
The Black Voices: On The Streets in Watts
Rappin' Black in A White World
"Without fine arts, there are no fine minds" -Anthony Hamilton (Watts Prophets