January 1, 2015

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - The Message (1982)


You can hear the energy throughout the album, but it really doesn't add up quality-wise on most of the tracks. All but one, in fact. The song 'The Message' is a widely recognized hip-hop centerpiece, and for good reason. Melle Mel was doing something on that track which was incredibly before it's time (like Rakim on Paid in Full five years later). Some seem to think that Grandmaster Flash was a rapper in the group, and even that he was the rapper on the title track. Flash stayed behind the boards, and was a skilled DJ, but Melle Mel was the incredibly talented rapper of the group. So talented that eventually he decided he didn't want to just be part of the Furious Five, and took part of the original group along with a few new rappers to form Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five.

The Message blows any other Flash track I've heard out of the water, but there is one other decent track on this album in Scorpio. This track is an instrumental where Flash is just showing off his talents in some up-beat boom-bap-style electro.

The rest of the album doesn't contain much rapping, mostly just composed of some slower singing tracks, which sound out of place and mediocrely produced. and some electro beats, sounding very aged in 2015. But even for the time, it wasn't that incredible, I much prefer Whodini's production on Escape, just two years later. Flash and the Furious Five dropped some great tracks, but none of their albums are full of great content, and the singles collections such as their self-titled compilation from 1983 might be better purchases.

Sample

The Message