The Message (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five album)

The Message is the debut studio album of American hip hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, released in October 1982 by Sugar Hill Records. It features the influential eponymous track and hip-hop single "The Message".

The Message
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five-The Message (album cover).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1982
StudioSweet Mountain (Englewood, New Jersey)[1]
GenreHip hop
Length36:58
LabelSugar Hill
ProducerJigsaw Productions, Sylvia Robinson
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five chronology
The Message
(1982)
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
(1983)
Singles from The Message
  1. "It's Nasty"
    Released: 1981
  2. "Scorpio"
    Released: 1981
  3. "The Message"
    Released: 1982

Release and receptionEdit

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [2]
Christgau's Record Guide: The '80sA–[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [4]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide     [5]
Pitchfork6.4/10[6]
Tom Hull – on the WebA–[7]

The Message was released in October 1982 by Sugar Hill Records.[8] It was the only album released while the group's original line-up was together.[5] The album charted at number 53 in the United States and at number 77 in the United Kingdom.[8]

Reviewing in December 1982 for The New York Times, Robert Palmer hailed The Message as the year's best album and explained that while the emerging rap genre had often been criticized for confining itself to "bragging and boasting ... The Message is different. It's a gritty, plain-spoken, vividly cinematic portrait of black street life...social realism has rarely worked well in a pop-music context, but The Message is an utterly convincing cry of frustration and despair that cannot be ignored."[9] Robert Christgau ranked it as the 21st best album of 1982 his list for The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll.[10] In Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s (1990), he wrote that, although "She's Fresh" is the "only instant killer", each song's attempt to experiment and "touch a lot of bases with a broad demographic ... justifies itself".[3]

According to music journalist Tom Breihan, The Message was a "singles-plus filler cash-in" that proved "a fascinating time capsule of rap's early attempts with the album format" as well as "a full-length artistic breakthrough, a rap album that earned respect on its own terms".[11] In a retrospective review, AllMusic's Ron Wynn called it the "ultimate peak" for Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, naming the title track as its highlight.[2] Miles Marshall Lewis, reviewing the album's 2002 British reissue in The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), cited "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" as the "clincher" and "the only prime-period example of Flash's ability to set and shatter moods, with his turntables and faders running through a collage of at least 10 records that sound like hundreds."[5] Mark Richardson from Pitchfork said that The Message featured "two absolutely essential songs"—the title track and "Scorpio," which he dubbed "the greatest early electro track." However, he felt the rest of the songs were inferior.[6] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[12]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleComposer(s)Length
1."She's Fresh"Milton Edwards, Bobbie Knight4:57
2."It's Nasty"Clifton Chase, Melvin Glover, Sylvia Robinson, Tom Tom Club4:19
3."Scorpio"Melvin Glover, Nathaniel Glover Jr, Eddie Morris, Keith Wiggins, Guy Williams4:55
4."It's a Shame (Mt. Airy Groove)"Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright, Lee Garrett, Curtis Harmon, James Lloyd, Cedric Napoleon4:57
5."Dreamin'"Melvin Glover, Nathaniel Glover Jr, Gary Henry, Eddie Morris, Keith Wiggins, Guy Williams5:47
6."You Are"Gary Henry4:51
7."The Message"Clifton Chase, Edward Fletcher, Melvin Glover, Sylvia Robinson7:12
1982 UK LP[13] / 2002 European CD reissue
No.TitleComposer(s)Length
8."The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel"Sylvia Robinson, Melvin Glover, Gabrielle Jackson, Jiggs Chase, Gwendolyn Chisolm, Cheryl Cook, Michael Wright, Guy O'Brien, John Richard Deacon, Joseph Saddler, Angela Brown7:06
2010 expanded edition
No.TitleComposer(s)Length
8."Message II (Survival)"Sylvia Robinson, Melvin Glover6:46
9."New York, New York"Sylvia Robinson, Edward G Fletcher, Reginald Lamar Griffin, Melvin Glover7:19
10."The Adventures of Grandmaster Himself"Unknown - see '2010 Expanded Edition' notes5:45
11."The Message (Instrumental Version)"Edward G Fletcher, Clifton Chase, Sylvia Robinson, Melvin Glover7:11
2019 Record Store Day blue double vinyl expanded edition
No.TitleComposer(s)Length
8."The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel"Sylvia Robinson, Melvin Glover, Gabrielle Jackson, Clifton Chase, Gwendolyn Chisolm, Cheryl Cook, Michael Wright, Guy O'Brien, John Richard Deacon, Joseph Saddler, Angela Brown7:06
9."The Message (Instrumental Version)"Edward G Fletcher, Clifton Chase, Sylvia Robinson, Melvin Glover7:08
10."New York, New York"Sylvia Robinson, Edward G Fletcher, Reginald Lamar Griffin, Melvin Glover7:25
11."Message II (Survival)"Sylvia Robinson, Melvin Glover6:46
12."The Birthday Party"Sylvia Robinson, Melvin Glover8:19
13."Freedom (Instrumental Version)"Sylvia Robinson8:13


Sample credits

PersonnelEdit

  • Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler) – turntables, drum programming, Flashformer transform DJ device
  • Keef Cowboy (Keith Wiggins) – lead and background vocals, writer and arranger
  • Grandmaster Melle Mel (Melvin Glover) – lead and background vocals, writer and arranger
  • The Kidd Creole (Nathaniel Glover Jr.) – lead and background vocals, writer and arranger
  • Scorpio (Eddie Morris) – lead and background vocals, writer and arranger
  • Rahiem (Guy Todd Williams) – lead and background vocals, writer and arranger
  • Doug Wimbish - bass
  • Skip McDonald - guitar
  • Reggie Griffin, Jiggs, Sylvia Robinson - Prophet Sequential
  • Gary Henry, Dwain Mitchell - keyboards
  • Keith Leblanc - drums
  • Ed Fletcher - percussion
  • Chops Horn Section - brass

ChartsEdit

AlbumEdit

Chart (1982) Peak
position
New Zealand Albums (RIANZ)[14] 14
UK Albums Chart[8] 77
U.S. Billboard 200[8] 53
U.S. Top Black Albums[15] 8
Chart (1983) Peak
position
Australian (Kent Music Report) 78[16]

SinglesEdit

Year Single Peak chart positions
U.S. Hot 100
[17][18]
U.S. R&B
[17][18]
U.S. Club Play NZ
[14]
UK
[19][20]
1981 "It's Nasty (Genius of Love)" 22
"Scorpio" 30 77
[20]
1982 "The Message" 62 4 12 2 8

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Message".
  2. ^ a b Wynn, Ron. "The Message - Furious Five, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five". Allmusic. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Christgau 1990, p. 270.
  4. ^ Larkin 2006, p. 308.
  5. ^ a b c Lewis et al. 2004, p. 341.
  6. ^ a b Richardson, Mark (July 14, 2005). "Grandmaster Flash / Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five: The Message / They Said it Couldn't Be Done". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  7. ^ Hull, Tom (April 26, 2021). "Music Week". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d Strong 2004, p. 619.
  9. ^ Palmer, Robert (December 22, 1982). "The Pop Life". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 22, 1983). "Pazz & Jop 1982: Dean's List". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  11. ^ Breihan, Tom (August 24, 2020). "1982: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five—the Message". sole.digital. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  12. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (February 7, 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  13. ^ Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message (Vinyl, LP, Album). Discogs. Retrieved on July 27, 2010.
  14. ^ a b "Discography Grandmaster Flash". charts.nz. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  15. ^ "The Message - Furious Five, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five : Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  16. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 129. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ a b "Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five". Rolling Stone. July 8, 2009. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
  18. ^ a b Billboard chartings. Accessed October 17, 2009.
  19. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  20. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company – Grandmaster Flash". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 27, 2010.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit