Item #6758 The Cricket: Trippin’ A Need For Change [No. 4]

The Cricket: Trippin’ A Need For Change [No. 4]

Newark: Jihad Productions, 1969. Saddle-stapled, in wraps. Mimeograph. 65pp. 8 ⅜ x 10 ⅞ in. Dampstaining to the right sides of the leaves and mild mold soiling throughout, not obstructing image or text. Good. Item #6758

The exceedingly rare fourth and final issue, in the complete “State A,” of Baraka’s underground music magazine, The Cricket - with contributions from Sun Ra, Ishmael Reed, and Albert Ayler. This example is the complete version.

Edited by the poets and writers Amiri Baraka, A. B. Spellman, and Larry Neal, Cricket had a four issue run in 1968–69. This issue features a poem by Sun Ra, a tabloid gag by Ishmael Reed, a vision by Albert Ayler, and essays and plays by Amiri Baraka, alongside other collected writings in an array of genres: poetry, gossip, concert and record reviews, short plays, and essays on music and politics.

Emerging from the heart of a Black Nationalist political movement, the magazine was published by Baraka’s New Jersey-based Jihad Productions shortly after the Newark Riots. It set forth an anti-commercial ideology, and provided a space for critics, poets, musicians, and journalists such as Mtume, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Keorapetse Kgisitsile, and Stanley Crouch to devise new styles of political and music writing. As David Grundy writes in the introduction to Blank Forms’ recent facsimile reprint of Cricket’s four issues, the publication attempted to create “a form of music writing which united politics, poetry, and aesthetics as a part of a broader movement for change; resisting the entire apparatus through which music is produced.”

This issue is known to exist in two versions: in Version A, the recto of the first leaf is printed with the phrase “Trippin’: A Need for Change,” the table of contents covers both the recto and verso of the second leaf, and the recto of the final printed leaf is numbered p. 65 and has an article titled “Aide Denies LBJ Called Pope ‘A Dumb Cunt.’” In Version B, the recto of the first leaf is blank, the verso of the contents leaf is blank, and the printed text ceases with p. 64. This example is Version A.

In an interview in issue 21 of Handbone, Baraka stated that each issue was printed in an edition of around 500 - this being one of the few still extant.

“In the half-between world
Dwell they, the sound-scientist
Mathematically precise. . . . .. .”.