Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five
The Message


4.5
superb

Review

by Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (126 Reviews)
February 26th, 2019 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “It's like a jungle sometimes, It makes me wonder how I keep from going under…"

I shouldn't have to explain just how important Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five are to hip-hop. Along with artists like the Sugarhill Gang, Brother D, and DJ Kool Herc, Flash and his enigmatic entourage revitalized and recontextualized disco and funk music at a time where white rock fans were attempting to squash black artforms. With the turntable techniques of DJing and tight, fresh grooves, what would become hip-hop had a lot to prove to both white America and fellow black communities. How could up and coming artists prove that this wasn't a fad or a mere attempt to coat pre-existing music in new paint❓

The Message is the thesis of the genre. Sure, Sugarhill and Kurtis Blow had releases out before this record, but few releases before this one were as socially aware. Moreover, so much to come in hip-hop can be heard in this landmark album. The politically and socially conscious messages of Public Enemy and The Roots, the thought-out lyricism and stories of Kendrick Lamar and Nas, the catchy song structures of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, and even the interworking of soul featured in the works of The Fugees and Anderson .Paak all have their roots in the songs featured on this 44 minute progenitor. Just take the now iconic title track, a track that’s impeccable bassline, grooving beat, and subtle turntableisms offer a direct blueprint for everyone from DJ Shadow to the New Power Generation.

Part of what helped The Message is just how varied it is, with elements of electro, funk, dance, rap, pop, and more all being depicted with both clever samples and live instrumentation. Everything comes together to make a record that is somewhat eclectic, but incredibly focused and sharp. From the skillful DJ showcase of “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash” to the incredibly potent “It’s a Shame (Mt. Airy Groove),” every piece feels meticulously planned and orchestrated, with the Grandmaster’s vision shining through.

Balanced themes of hope and discouragement represent the day to day life of the Furious Five and their peers, getting by in a crazy world while finding joy and inspiration wherever they can, be it a fresh lady, a nasty backbeat, religion, or the music of Stevie Wonder. Because of this, there’s a beautiful groundedness to The Message, one that helps the words of Melle Mel and Duke Bootee shine on the title track. Life for minorities, African-Americans in particular, was and still is often unfairly tough and the themes of this song, and the record of as a whole, let the disenfranchised youths know they aren't alone in their struggles and desires. And that’s the spirit of hip-hop.



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user ratings (99)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2019


2998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/4dEczweFPXeLMMVD1zIdi7?autoplay=true&v=L

Thanks to Granitenotebook for looking over this with fresh eyes

shit rules

Digging: Less Than Jake - Hello Rockview

Sniff
February 26th 2019


5824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sir this is okay. I'd probably bump it more if i ever spun it again. So best not to

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2019


2998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is definitely better than a 3 chief

Relinquished
February 26th 2019


41629 Comments


someone saw the netflix special on hip hop !

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2019


2998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I havent seen it yet but I'd like to

Relinquished
February 26th 2019


41629 Comments


it's actually pretty damn good

Meridiu5
February 26th 2019


2720 Comments


Good review. Artist is legendary

Digging: Nathanael Larochette - Earth And Sky

Sniff
February 26th 2019


5824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Scratch is where it's at

TorkshireYea
February 27th 2019


57 Comments


Great review man, nutty that it didn't have one beforehand.
Title track is straight-up iconic.

Titan
February 27th 2019


19754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great fucking record

TheMrAlexK
February 27th 2019


11126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Crazy this didn't already have a review



Bloon our here fixing the site one review at a time

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2019


2998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

:3

dedex
February 27th 2019


371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Really good review man. As Relinquished said, you should watch the netflix special on hip-hop (2 seasons of four episodes each), it's sweet af.

As of the album, apart from the gigantic t/t, the rest bored or annoyed me, but my heart won't give it less than 3.

Papa Universe
February 27th 2019


22433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The only thing that's furious is the POS I'm smashing you (if only I could).

granitenotebook
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2019


962 Comments


uh huh hu-hu-huh hu-hu-huh

SmurkinGherkin
February 27th 2019


1946 Comments


Hip Hop evolution is fucking excellent definitely recommend watching it. Grandmaster Flash was a legit ghetto genius mad scientist aha.

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2019


2998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll make sure to watch it

The history of how we got from sugarhill to Lil pump is pretty dang interesting

SmurkinGherkin
February 27th 2019


1946 Comments


It's pretty hilarious how much the Furious Five and Cold Crush Brothers hate the Sugar Hill Gang. They really don't hold back shitting on them lmao. Yeah the history of the genre is fascinating. As someone from outside the US I found it really interesting how the doc explored the was American history, socio-economics and technology have directly shaped Hip Hop and how in turn Hip Hop has shaped culture.

widowslaugh123
February 27th 2019


1597 Comments


Oh shit never jammed the full album but the title track fucks



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