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Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five
"From The Streets:
The Best Of
Grandmaster Flash,
Melle Mel And The
Furious Five

© Rhino

February 28 - 06, 2021

Year of Release: 1994
  • Step Off Megamix
  • Freedom
  • The Birthday Party
  • Showdown
  • It's Nasty (Genius Of Love)
  • The Message
  • Scorpio
  • Message II (Survival)
  • New York New York
  • White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)
  • Beat Street

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    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
    iF yOU REALLY want to know what GOOD Hip Hop is -- Grandmaster Flash! Some call him "Old School Rap" -- Hip-Hop wasn't really named until much later, during Grandmaster's time. Yet, the 1970s decade not only had great different styles of music, "rap" was beginning its way into the music scene. Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and the Furious Five were making their mark. Although their music wasn't regularly played on AM radio, artists such as the Grandmaster were played on "urban" stations; urban stations that focused on black artists and groups. Back in the day, Chicago stations suchas WGCI and WJPC were well-known black stations, focusing on this music, mostly categorized (and today), as R&B. His real name is Joseph Saddler, and is truly one of the pioneers of early rap music, and DJ, with the style of "DJing scratching, cutting" while playing records. Grandmaster, and his group, The Furious Five, were formed in the 1970s. Grandmaster Flash is still with us; he is 63 years old.

    One thing to mention about the early rap music, is that is had a great beat. It kept the groove going, and the rhythmic lyrics all blended extremely well. Another part was the use of sampling - using parts of other songs throughout the songs. "Step Off Megamix" sounds like it has the O'Jays' "For The Love Of Money" tune, and also lyrics from the group's most famous hit, "The Message." "Step Off Megamix" was a new recording, an unreleased track.

    "Freedom" and "The Birthday Party" were the first singles by the group, as for this compilation, these are the 12 inch singles. These singles would be a longer in length (3 minutes or 5, more likely, 5 minutes or more), than the regular hit singles (3 minutes or less). Another single, "Showdown" is credited by The Furious Five Meets The Sugarhill Band. (The Sugarhill Band was another early hip hop group; their famous hit was "Rapper's Delight." The three singles mentioned, were never released on the two studio albums that Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five released.

    The next three 12 inch singles was from the first studio album, The Message: The first, "It's Nasty (Genius Of Love)" (which would be the original version, to where in 1981 the Talking Heads' spinoff group, The Tom Tom Club would record). Both versions are different, yet the music you can recognize. It's the rappin' that makes the difference. The second single from The Message, is the title track, the huge hit and signature song that Grandmaster Flash is known for. It would be later used in the future, by Puff Daddy (Sean Combs/P. Diddy) - "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" (#1, 1997). The third single, "Scorpio" features the talk-box effect, as this was used by the group Zapp, and Stevie Wonder. (I have to say, this track is way different than the previous, it's more on the talk-box effect, and not the rhythmics of the beats and rappin.)

    "Message II (Survival)" was recording during The Message sessions, and would be included on a future re-issue of The Message 2010 expanded edition. This track is credited by Melle Mel & Duke Bootee. The next track was recorded during this time also, "New York New York." And, like "Survival," would be included on the 2010 expanded edition of The Message. "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" was a non-album single, credited on this compilation by Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel. But in reality, Grandmaster Flash was not involved on this song. It was recorded by Melle Mel. The song is about the dangers of cocaine use. And, if you're familiar with early hip hop music, you will recognize this tune, as I did. (Oh, I remember this one...) The last track, "Beat Street" is another non-album single, credited by Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five, with Mr. Ness & Cowboy.

    Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five recorded only two albums, The Message (1982) and On The Strength (1988). So, having this Best Of compilation is an addition to those two albums. The tracks on this compilation are "12 inch singles," not heard from the original albums.

    Grandmaster Flash's music is the key to great early hip hop music. This is what good hip-hop and early rap music is all about. The music is great. They lyrics have their own stories. And clean, and humorous. How many of us all just love to say those "huh-huh-huh's" from "The Message" ? I thought so...

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