The Message (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five song)
|Single by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five featuring Melle Mel and Duke Bootee|
|from the album The Message|
|B-side||"The Message" (instrumental)|
|Released||July 1, 1982|
|Format||CD, vinyl, cassette|
|Genre||Old school hip hop, political hip hop|
|Writer(s)||Ed "Duke Bootee" Fletcher
Grandmaster Melle Mel
Clifton "Jiggs" Chase
|Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five chronology|
"The Message" is a song by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. It was released as a single by Sugar Hill Records on July 1, 1982 and was later featured on the group's first studio album, The Message. "The Message" was the first prominent hip hop song to provide a lyrical social commentary. It took rap music from the house parties to the social platforms later developed by groups like Public Enemy, N.W.A., and Rage Against The Machine. Melle Mel said in an interview with NPR: “Our group, like Flash and the Furious Five, we didn’t actually want to do the message because we was used to doing party raps and boasting how good we are and all that.”
Uses in popular culture
"The Message" was included as in-game radio music for the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours, an adaption of the 1983 film. The signature synthesizer melody was also sampled and featured in multiple episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. For the MTV-produced compilation album Lit Riffs: The Soundtrack in 2004, the band Katsu supplied a stripped-down cover version of "The Message". The second and last verses of the song are sung by Mushroomhead in the song "Born of Desire" off their XX album. American singer-songwriter Willy Mason also covered this song for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge on February 25, 2005.
In 2007, the 25th anniversary of "The Message", Melle Mel changed the spelling of his first name to Mele Mel and released "M3 - The New Message" as the first single to his first ever solo album, Muscles. 2007 is also the year that Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip-hop act ever to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2010, Melle Mel and Scorpio appeared in an Australian commercial for the Kia Sportage in which they perform "The Message".
Rolling Stone ranked "The Message" #51 in its List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (the highest placing for any song released in the 1980s, and highest ranking hip-hop song on the list). It was later named the greatest hip-hop song of all time in 2012.
In 2002, its first year of archival, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry, the first hip hop recording ever to receive this honor.
"The Message" was number 5 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
Music and structure
"The Message” has been reused and re-sampled in so many different ways that it would be easy to reduce its legacy to cliché. Music critic Dan Carins described it in a 2008 edition of The Sunday Times: "Where it was inarguably innovative, was in slowing the beat right down, and opening up space in the instrumentation - the music isn't so much hip-hop as noirish, nightmarish slow-funk, stifling and claustrophobic, with electro, dub and disco also jostling for room in the genre mix - and thereby letting the lyrics speak loud and clear”. Not only does the song utilize an ingenious mix of musical genres to great effect, but it also allows the slow and pulsating beat to take a backseat to the stark and haunting lyrical content.
In addition to being widely regarded as an all-time rap anthem, "The Message" has been credited by many critics as the song that catapulted emcees from the background to the forefront of Hip-Hop. Thus, shifting the focus from the mixing and scratching of the grandmaster as the star, to the thoughts and lyrics of the emcee playing the star role. David Hickley wrote in 2004 that ""The Message" also crystallized a critical shift within rap itself. It confirmed that emcees, or rappers, had vaulted past the deejays as the stars of the music".
|UK Singles Chart||8|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||62|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles||4|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||12|
- "The Message '95" (Die Fantastischen Vier Remix) (1995, East West Records)
- "The Message" - 1997, Deepbeats Records (DEEPCD001)
- "Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Gross, Terry "The History of Hip-Hop.http://www.npr.org/2005/08/29/4821649/rapper-melle-mel-delivering-the-message]"
- "Old School Feature – “The Message”: A Classic That Almost Never Was". Oldschoolhiphop.com. 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum - Inductee List". Rockhall.com. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Budskapet - Timbuktu, Youtube.
- Budskapet, blog post by Timbuktu.
- Timbuktu rappar om Husby, Helsingborgs Dagblad, May 26, 2013.
- Top 100 Rap Songs. About.com.
- "The National Recording Registry 2002". Loc.gov. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "''» The Good Old Days? - Road Safety (part 2; Tell It to the Kids''". Noise to Signal. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Cairns, Dan. "1982: Grandmaster Flash: The Message." Sunday Times: 25. Proquest Newsstand. 28 Sep 2008. Web. 1 Apr 2012.
- Hinckley, David. "Message from the Bronx the History of Rap in the City." New York Daily News: 67. Proquest Newsstand. 07 Dec 2004. Web. 01 Apr 2012.
- "Chart Stats - Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
- Richardson, Mark. "Editor in Chief". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 4, 2005.
- http://www.discogs.com/release/2041674 "The Message '95" (Die Fantastischen Vier Remix)
- ""The Message" - 1997 remix". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Chang, Jeff. (2005) Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: St. Martin's Press.
- Loder, Kurt (September 16, 1982). "The Message : Grandmaster Flash : Review". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved May 11, 2013.
- Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: The Message at Discogs (list of releases)
- Official Music Video
- How we made: Jiggs Chase and Ed Fletcher on The Message