The first single to come from The Furious Five’s Mele Mel and Scorpio in nearly three decades, ‘Some Kind of Sorry’.
The original group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five formed in the South Bronx, New York in 1978. and comprised five rappers Mele Mel, The Kidd Creole, Keith Cowboy, Scorpio, and Rahiem, together with one DJ, Grandmaster Flash.
The group’s use of turntablism, break-beat deejaying, choreographed stage routines and lyricism was a significant force in the early development of Hip Hop music. Growing up in The Bronx, in the late ’70s early ’80s, Hip Hop culture was everywhere. My sister was seven years older then me and Rap was all she and her girl friends listened to. She bought me “The Message” a few days after it was released on the Sugar Hill label that summer for my 14th birthday. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five were not only the building blocks of my record collection and musical vocabulary but most importantly, gave me a personal political awakening as well.
”The Message’ was the first Rap song to contain a serious social commentary on the plight of black and brown people in marginalized communities in America and was later featured on the group’s first studio album, The Message. It singlehandedly took rap music from the house parties to social platforms and paved the way for the activism of later groups like NWA & Public Enemy.
“The Message” was archived at the Library of Congress for its social relevance within that time period. The song is considered one of the twenty-five most important of the last fifty years, proven by the fact that in 2013 ‘The Message’ was the first Hip Hop record inducted into the Grammy’s Hall of Fame.
Today, Grandmaster’s Furious 5 is made up of two pioneers of the original Furious Five creators of Hip Hop subculture; Mele Mel and Scorpio. But, you’ve got to remember where you’ve been to know we’re your going.
Old School is the only School:
Whilst rapping a scat routine at a party for a friend who had just joined the US Army, Cowboy began scat singing the words “hip/hop/hip/hop” in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of the marching drill. He then worked the “hip hop” cadence into part of his performance. This evolved into the term ‘Hip Hop’, which was later adopted by the industry.
Melvin ‘Mele Mel’ Glover, the first person to call himself MC, was born in The Bronx in New York City. A former Break Dancer aka B-Boy, he was responsible for writing the first Hip Hop style rhyme. He is known as an exceptional lyricist, song writer and hip hop pioneer.
Eddie ‘Mr. Ness/Scorpio’ Morris was born in The Bronx in New York City and was also a Break Dancer before picking up the microphone. Scorpio was instrumental in the group’s uniform style through the 1980’s when they wore leather. Scorpio is known for his dextrous rhymes and flamboyant poses on stage, in photos and videos.
DJ Grandmaster Flash does not perform with the lineup currently touring. Originator of ‘scratchin ‘, Joseph Sadler aka Grandmaster Flash was the DJ in the group and never recorded on any of the records that were released under the name Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5. UK top ten hits ‘White Lines’, ‘Step Off’, and ‘Beat Street’ were recorded after Grandmaster Flash was released from the group. The single ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’ is credited to ‘Grandmaster & Mele Mel’.
Fathers of today’s multi-billon dollar Rap industry, Mele Mel and Scorpio are to Hip Hop what Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are to Rock and Roll. Having toured the world as Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 with the likes of U2, The Police, The Clash, Prince and Duran Duran as well as many Hip Hop greats. The Furious Five have influenced many musical acts such as The Cold Crush Brothers, Run-D.M.C., Whodini, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One, EPMD, Stetsasonic, Doug E. Fresh, Salt-n-Pepa, Ultramagnetic MC’s, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Eminem, Pharoahe Monch, Busta Rhymes, DJ Quik, Beastie Boys, Hieroglyphics, Too Short, Wu-tang Clan, Digital Underground, Tupac Shakur, NWA, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ludacris, Heavy D, and The Roots, among many others. Ice Cube recorded a song titled ‘Check Yo Self’ with Das EFX, the remix of which sampled the music of ‘The Message’. Thier recordings are amongst the most sampled in the history of Rap music.
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12th 2007, the first and only Rap group to have been given this honour. The group have also been honored on the Bronx Walk of Fame, with a street named after them.
Hip Hop pioneers Grandmaster’s Furious Fives Mele Mel & Scorpio, who way back in the day brought us groundbreaking hits like ‘The Message’, ‘White Lines’ and ‘Beat Street’ have returned with an inspired new record taking their music in an unexpected new direction!
‘Some Kind of Sorry‘ sees Grandmaster’s Furious Five firmly anchored in their original South Bronx roots whilst incorporating a modern pop melody, creating a sound that is both drawing from the past and appealing to a whole new generation.
I’m looking forward to meeting Mele Mel and Scorpio soon and I’ll post my interview ASAP here on All Things Geek once my arrangements are set! follow them on Facebook and check out the single there and tour schedule below:
28th May – Southampton
28th May – The Live Room, Manchester
29th May – Liverpool
29th May – Surrey
31st May – Tramshed, Cardiff
1st June – The Waterfront, Norwich
2nd June – Warehouse 23, Wakefield
3rd June – Hard Rock Café, Glasgow
4th June – Liquid Room, Edinburgh
5th June – Riverside, Newcastle
7th June – The Venue, Derby
8th June – The Assembly, Leamington Spa
9th June – The Mable Factory, Bristol
10th June – Ireland
11th June – Ireland
12th June – O2 Academy Islington, London
all art-Grandmaster’s furious five