Blast from the Past - Poor Righteous Teachers

. Mar 14, 2008

If you don't remember poor righteous teachers, you need to grab a copy of Vibe's "History of Hip Hop" or go to and listen to a few tracks from "Holy Intellect" or "Black Business". Although Poor Righteous Teachers (PRT) cannot boast multi-platinum record sales or huge commercial success, they were still able to amass a large following and their music has made a huge contribution to the hip hop genre. After all, record sales have never been a real indicator of good hip hop. If that were the case we would be calling 50 Cent and MC Hammer two of the best rappers alive. Despite their lack of commercial success, PRT clearly epitomized the essence of 90's hip hop: head nodding beats, thought provoking content, and masterful lyrics.

PRT is a group from Trenton, NJ, founded in 1989, consisting of Wise Intelligent (The Head MC),Culture Freedom (Vocals and Production), and Father Shaheed (DJ and producer). Their first single, "Time to Say Peace" debuted in 1989 and one year later, they released their first album, Holy Intellect. Holly Intellect was a critically acclaimed work that exposed the pain, poverty, and destruction of the black community. Their major hit, "Rock Dis Funky Joint", has a soulful beat, sampled from James Brown’s “Funky President” and War’s “Slippin’ into Darkness”, and features a barrage of quick masterful lyrics. PRT followed up Holly Intellect with their second album, Pure Poverty, which was released in 1992. This album, although it received great reviews from major hip hop critics, did not fair well commercially and barely reached the billboard top 200 album chart. Their most successful album by far was Black Business which was released in 1993.Their last commercial album The New World Order, dropped in 1996 following a three year hiatus. At the same time, Wise Intelligent dropped an album entitled Killin’ U for Fun, however this, like much of PRT’s work, attained little commercial success and his album met mixed reviews. Wise, like many hip hop historians, blames the fall of conscious rap and the lack of commercial success of PRT on record labels who redirected money towards the promotion of gangsta rap. Despite this fall from grace, PRT released an underground album, Declaration from Independence in 2001. Wise Intelligent continued his solo career and just recently in 2007, he released The Talented Timothy Taylor. Despite what their record sales may say, PRT has had a lasting effect on hip hop and forever exemplifies what 90’s hip hop was all about.