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Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

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 time, he developed a series of groundbreaking techniques including "cutting" (moving between tracks exactly on the beat), "back-spinning" (manually turning records to repeat brief snippets of sound), and "phasing" (manipulating turntable speeds) -- in short, creating the basic vocabulary which DJs continue to follow even today.

Flash did not begin collaborating with rappers until around 1977, first teaming with the legendary Kurtis Blow. He then began working with the Furious Five -- rappers Melle Mel (Melvin Glover), Cowboy (Keith Wiggins), Kid Creole (Nathaniel Glover), Mr. Ness aka Scorpio (Eddie Morris), and Rahiem (Guy Williams); the group quickly became legendary throughout New York City, attracting notice not only for Flash's unrivalled skills as a DJ but also for the Five's masterful rapping, most notable for their signature trading and blending of lyrics. Despite their local popularity, they did not record until after the Sugarhill Gang's smash "Rapper's Delight" proved the existence of a market for hip-hop releases; after releasing "We Rap More Mellow" as the Younger Generation, Flash and the Five recorded "Superappin'" for the Enjoy label owned by R&B legend Bobby Robinson. They then switched to Sugar Hill, owned by Sylvia Robinson (no relation), after she promised them an opportunity to rap over a current DJ favorite, "Get Up and Dance" by Freedom (the idea had probably been originally conceived by Crash Crew for their single "High Powered Rap").

That record, 1980's "Freedom," the group's Sugar Hill debut, reached the Top 20 on national R&B charts on its way to selling over 50,000 copies; its follow-up, "Birthday Party," was also a hit. 1981's "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" was the group's first truly landmark recording, introducing Flash's "cutting" techniques to create a stunning sound collage from snippets of songs by Chic, Blondie, and Queen. Flash and the Five's next effort, 1982's "The Message," was even more revelatory -- for the first time, hip-hop became a vehicle not merely for bragging and boasting but for trenchant social commentary, with Melle Mel delivering a blistering rap detailing the grim realities of life in the ghetto. The record was a major critical hit, and it was an enormous step in solidifying rap as an important and enduring form of musical expression.

Following 1983's anti-cocaine polemic "White Lines," relations between Flash and Melle Mel turned ugly, and the rapper soon left the group, forming a new unit also dubbed the Furious Five. After a series of Grandmaster Flash solo albums including 1985's They Said It Couldn't Be Done, 1986's The Source, and 1987's Da Bop Boom Bang, he reformed the original Furious Five lineup for a charity concert at Madison Square Garden; soon after, the reconstituted group recorded a new LP, 1988's On the Strength, which earned a lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike. Another reunion followed in 1994, when Flash and the Five joined a rap package tour also including Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C. A year later, Flash and Melle Mel also appeared on Duran Duran's cover of "White Lines." Except for a few compilations during the late '90s, Flash was relatively quiet until 2002, when a pair of mix albums appeared: The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on Strut and Essential Mix: Classic Edition on ffrr. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Don't push me kuzz im klose to the edge!
I know they not playin dis...
That's that shittt. . .
Ayeee...
After the cop says " you the problem does someone say " you ain't got a p**sy man"?!?!?!??
Yes
Hey
Am I the only one who likes Grandmaster Flash's song The Message in Vice City ?
Straight classic thought u knew!!
maleah14
I'm young and I prefer 70's 80's and 90's rap any day stop saying that I know a lot of young people who only listen told school rap I also know adults who love the horrible club rap hits of today !
Flash g 2nite
true legends
Music. It life. It. Music
This beat has been used so many times, but this best 1
LACE UP YOUR SKATES AND GO TO THE ROLLER RINK! ALL SKATE!!
Love me some old school rap not like this bullshit they rap about these days I beleive this kind of rapping will come back someday hope so anyway
Young folks don't know nothing bout this!
There creative technic, for rapping and on the wheels of Steele... I don't think anyone will stop hearing this type of old school. I'm only 38, and I love this old school, rap. I just only wished that today in hip hop, an artist or any new up coming artist will come up something close to old school rap.

Today's hip hop is no where close than the pass. That's just me!

Where's all the mixing and different beats, with the unique turn table scratching. Don't get me wrong but Dr. Dre has bomb bea
It doesn't get much more old school than this
marty.8230
Good old days
This is oldschool
Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five were the Best
Sure I Remember Scorpio Back In My Day Can't Even Count The Times I Danced To This Cut In The Club Old School Throwback Jams Now This Was Real Old School Music
Original music, original beats, original message from a real angle .....
Takes you back to that exact moment.
Allll Now I sure remember cuttin up that rug in the club off of this cut old school my old school in my day alright Pandora thanks for playin this song for me !!!!!!
kevin.murray 6 5
It was nasty!!!!!
FLASH IS DOPE.
zombies everywhere !!! ayeee!!!!
Yessss I was in the bar killin this on the dance floore throwback Yessss shane dont make music like this today Grandmaster Flash another one of my favorite artist here we go again work it out Pandora !
Hot s**t
This is so true.White lines had me for 25yrs.It took everything from me butGOD restored it all back 2 me.Dope kills.
It's Nasty
This is rap not the crap we have to day follow for a follow
Oh yah old Skool.... My kinda music
This is really cool stuff
marty.8230
This is real rap music not that s**t of today
1979..Ninete e n ( W a s able to Dance the Whole 11-12min to song)..LoL
Young man in the Navy"Oversea s Olongapo Philippines. . U s s Kitty Hawk
ryanrodney3
Best Jam ever.
This some real old s**t
weeweeee
Ilovethisjam
Thisismyjam
I love this song
Listening to this while cruising to East Los Cali in Kalimans Chevy Impala. Fun times!!
loving dis all the way old school
The essence of HIP HOP right here!!! NEW YORK CITY
follow me please
their music takes me back to when i was little. I LOVE IT!!!!!!
swynne96
When I think about how loud my low ridin' Monte Carlo was thumpin' when this came out that I'm sure my neighbors disliked me ;)
I'm in love!!!! Great dissertation - w r i t i n g music!!!!!!! !
When i hear this it reminds me of GTA vice city :)
s.a.clarkson 0 2
This song started our now curropted genre of music hip hop thank goodness we have survivors
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