“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - album review

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TJR says

24-year-old Grandmaster Flash takes the group's headline, but receives no songwriting credits. Indeed, the only member of the group to feature on the legendary title-track was rapper and lyricist, Melle Mel. You can see the trouble ahead already. The hip-hop pioneers from South Bronx had been on the go for some 4 years when “The Message” broke them into mainstream markets worldwide. In her role as label boss at Sugar Hill, Sylvia Robinson had been the driving force behind the ground-breaking “Rapper's Delight” in 1979, and she was at it again 3 years later, encouraging, cajoling and bringing together the vision for, what would turn out to be, a Hip-Hop masterpiece. It was Sugar Hill's in-house arranger Clifton 'Jiggs' Chase who created the rhythm track, with lyrics from in-house percussionist/rapper Edward 'Duke Bootee' Fletcher and the group's Melvin 'Melle Mel' Glover being stitched together. These two rappers traded versus which reverberated all around the globe. Duke Bootee sets the scene: “It's like a jungle sometimes, It makes me wonder how I keep from going under”. Melle Mel soon pipes in: “Don't push me, 'cause I'm close to the edge, I'm trying not to lose my head”. The level of social consciousness on display, and the tone of the delivery, was long overdue. It's almost unbelievable that the group didn't want anything to do with it and, quite frankly, this undermines their whole set up. Nothing else on the record gets close to the colossal title track, although “It's Nasty” (riding Tom Tom Club's “Genius Of Love” rhythm) is an easy hit, even if the bland lyrics do nothing for me. My disdain for the group could hardly be any greater when two wretched Kids-From-Fame-style ballads on side two hit me. Frankly, it's criminal that such tripe should share a side with “The Message”. This album's a sham.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [04:57] 3.3.png Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - She’s Fresh (Milton Edwards, Bobbie Knight) Disco / Funk
A2 [04:19] 6.7.png Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - It’s Nasty (Clifton Chase, Melvin Glover, Sylvia Robinson, Adrian Belew, Chris Frantz, Steven Stanley, Tina Weymouth) Hip Hop / Rap
A3 [04:55] 4.8.png Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - Scorpio (Melvin Glover, Nathaniel Glover Jr, Eddie Morris, Keith Wiggins, Guy Williams) Electronica
A4 [04:57] 3.6.png Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - It’s A Shame (Mt. Airy Groove) (Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright, Lee Garrett, Curtis Harmon, James Lloyd, Cedric Napoleon) Disco / Funk
B1 [05:47] 0.5.png Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - Dreamin’ (Melvin Glover, Nathaniel Glover Jr, Gary Henry, Eddie Morris, Keith Wiggins, Guy Williams) R n B
B2 [04:51] 0.7.png Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - You Are (Gary Henry) R n B
B3 [07:12] 10.0.png Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - The Message (Edward Fletcher, Melvin Glover, Sylvia Robinson, Clifton Chase) Hip Hop / Rap

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