Why is Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Don’t push me, ‘cause I’m close to the edge.
What does Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
There’s old school hip hop and then there’s old school hip hop. If you need to understand which is which, throw on The Message.
Listen closely to the seven-plus minute long title track, “The Message,” and you can hear the birth of hip hop emerging out of New York City in the late 1970s, incredible innovation taking place with song samples and DJs — the proverbial two turntables and a microphone — meshing with urban style and culture, party songs evolving into artists discovering this new form of vocal expression, heavy on rhyming and rhythm and vocal flow, attitude and swagger, coolness and keeping it real and talking about what’s going on in people’s lives.
It’s all there in “The Message.” And, bonus, it’s funky as hell and rocks hard, too, with one of the wildest hooks you’ve ever heard.
“It’s Nasty” is a classic all its own, with a snazzy hook that’ll stay in your head for weeks. And the style used where one member will rap followed the group rapping in unison is deployed to perfection.
The robotic vocal distortion used on “Scorpio” never fails to crack me up, but it’s laughter of love and a laughter of I love that they’re going there and pulling it off. “Don’t be shy, girl,” indeed!
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message
The Get Down is one of the more underrated TV shows to come and go all too quickly during the Peak TV-meets-streaming era. Check it:
The series is set in the 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City and follows the rise of hip-hop and disco music through the eyes of a group of teenagers. Each episode begins with MC Books, a famous artist who raps his story to a large crowd during a concert in 1996. The short rap serves as both a recap of previous episodes and a setup of the coming events. Each episode is also intercut with real footage and newscasts from the 1970s.
While it’s admittedly uneven at times, the scenes of creative musical collaboration are some of the most exciting I’ve ever seen on screen.
Scenes like this one – where the character of Grandmaster Flash himself (Mamoudou Athie) explains a little old school DJing 101 to Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore) and his grasshoppers – never fail to blow my mind. I absolutely love it.
Some stats & info about Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? East Coast Rap, Old School Hip Hop, Rap, Hip Hop
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was The Message released? 1982
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #751 out of 1,000
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.