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The Best of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five

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Album Review

A diplomatically titled Rhino compilation, Message from Beat Street: The Best of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & the Furious Five is a no-brainer collection featuring the absolute best of the group's four years on Sugar Hill — from the national breakout with 1980's "Freedom" to the beginning of the end, Melle Mel & the Furious Five's rap-on-film classic, "Beat Street." Backed by the party-pleasing productions of Joey and Sylvia Robinson plus gorgeous grooves courtesy of the Sugar Hill house band (guitarist Skip McDonald, bassist Doug Wimbish, drummer Keith LeBlanc), Grandmaster Flash and company recorded most of rap's popular classics from the early '80s, providing a crucial bridge from the street-party aesthetic of the late '70s to Run-D.M.C.'s mid-'80s breakout. Rappers Melle Mel, Scorpio, Cowboy, Kid Creole, and Raheem were tied to old school delivery (carefully and slowly phrased), but they did it better than all the others and had the DJ as well as the tracks to match. Flash & the Five also had the most diversity of any other early rap group, encompassing the refreshing Furious Five/Sugarhill Gang collaboration "Showdown" (more a posse track than a battle), a gritty street-level snapshot of modern life (rap's all-time classic "The Message"), and the vocoder paranoia of "Scorpio." Rhino could've done a better job without too much trouble (simply swapping an ineffective new Megamix with the DJ landmark "Adventures on the Wheels of Steel" would go a long way), but Message from Beat Street is still the best introduction to the authors of old school's greatest hits.

Customer Reviews

Solid and Real HIP HOP

This is what hip-hop was all about (or rap, depending on your choice of word). It is not enough, though, to simple say this is a solid, old skool album. To better serve the masses, I advise you to listen to the chords, the melody, the rhythm, and most of all-the words. Hip-Hop of the present carries no message. The garbage present day hip-hop spouts is what the hip-hop groups of the old skool years condemned. This style of music is still found in dance clubs, where as the incoherent mass of noise people call hip-hop of today is found in top pop 40 and hip-hop clubs meaning it takes a good ear and an understanding of what hip-hop was really about to appreciate the true roots of hip-hop. (If you really want to get down to it-how many breakdancers do you see going at it to Usher, Ja Rule, or Outkast?)

The way it is supposed to sound!!!!

My friends and I grew up on this music. My good friend used it in all his mixes when he would DJ. This is the way it's supposed to sound, not like the junk they play today. Maybe I'm old school, But the way the "Oldies" are to Rock' n Roll the Grandmaster, Sugar Hill Gang, Melle Mel, Furious 5 and all their gang did it right. "The Best" hands down. Play one of their songs and tell me you don't feel like dancin'!!!!!!

The Early Days....

This is the beginning of what we now call HIP was "Rap" back in the day...Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five were actually pioneers and I am so glad to see this on ITunes!! The Birthday Party, It's Nasty, The Message conjure up fond memories of the days on campus Partying!! And for those of us fortunate enough to have seen this group in concert..there was nothing like it! Enjoy and appreciate the roots of this genre and you will hear a lot of this in the music you listen to today!!


Born: January 1, 1958 in Barbados

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

DJ Grandmaster Flash and his group the Furious Five were hip-hop's greatest innovators, transcending the genre's party-music origins to explore the full scope of its lyrical and sonic horizons. Flash was born Joseph Saddler in Barbados on January 1, 1958; he began spinning records as teen growing up in the Bronx, performing live at area dances and block parties. By age 19, while attending technical school courses in electronics during the day, he was also spinning on the local disco circuit. Over...
Full Bio

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