Black Entertainment : GRAND MASTER FLASH & THE FURRIOUS FIVE...

Isaiah

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Jun 8, 2004
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Just had to give props to this group of men who brought HipHop to the fore... It seems that the pioneers of this genre are totally forgotten by those who enjoy the form today, and they shouldn't be... Love 'em or hate 'em, don't forget the bridge the brought ya over...


GRANDMASTER FLASH & THE FURIOUS FIVE



Born in Barbados, Grandmaster Flash is one of the Holy Trinity of Hip Hop.

Flash learned the basic art of cutting between records from Herc in the mid-70's.

Along with Afrika Bambaataa, Flash was an early competitor of Herc. Flash recalls Herc embarrassing him because he didn't have the system (nor did anyone else at the time) that could compete with Herc's. He decided to make up for what he was missing in volume with flawless technique.

Not only could Flash cut from one record to the next without missing a beat, he added in a new element. He would take phrases and sections of different records and play them over other records. He installed a device that would allow him, through the use of headphones, to hear what was going on on each record. Herc didn't use this technique until much later.

He began to develop a following from house parties and block parties. People would come to hear and see Flash and his partner "Mean Gene" Livingston. Gene's brother, a 13 year old named Theodore, practiced with Flash and is often credited as the inventor of "scratching." Obviously this technique was mimicked by every DJ and became standard practice.

By 1978, Flash had surpassed Herc in popularity, but there was a decided shift in the realm of hip hop. While still important, deejays began to take second place to MC's.

Flash rapped and made the shout outs on his own at first, but he knew if he wanted to remain innovative and retain his flawless turntable technique he needed some help.

He worked for a short time in 1978-79 with Kurtis Blow before recruiting a few of his friends Keith (Cowboy) Wiggins, and two brothers, Melvin (Melle Mel) and the older sibling, Nathaniel (Kidd Creole) Glover. They soon began writing their own rhymes and calling themselves The Three MC's. Over time they added in Guy (Rahiem) Williams and Eddie (Mr. Ness/Scorpio) Morris and became the legendary group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

They went on to battle the likes of The Treacherous Three and, ironically, Grand Wizard Theodore (Livingston) and The Fantastic Five.

The group recorded the single, "We Rap More Mellow" on Brass Records under the name, The Younger Generation. They also released a along with a live version of "Flash To The Beat" on Bozo Meko Records under the name Flash and The Five.

They went on to record for Enjoy! Records before moving over to the land of Sugar Hill Records.

Flash is also credited with using the electronic beat box. He would put it between his turntables and use it to play the beat in between records.

Flash briefly appears in the hip hop film Wild Style cutting records in his kitchen.

In 1981, Flash released what is considered the most influential display of cutting and scratching ever recorded- "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel." On it he uses sections of "Rapture", "Good Times," "Another One Bites the Dust," and sections from some of their previous work. This was the first time that people heard a song of nothing but a record on a record.

But, without question, the most influential song ever recorded by this group was released in June of 1982, only one week after The Sugar Hill Gang had released "The Lover in You" a much more typical Sugar Hill record. "The Lover in You" peaked out at #55 on the charts.

"The Message" peaked at #4.

"The Message" changed the playing field for what a rap record could do. It showed that you could make things other than party songs and still sell records. It featured Melle Mel and Duke Bootee (a Sugarhill session musician named Ed Fletcher). It is known that Melle Mel is angry about how everyone else shared credit for the song. Duke Bootee wasn't even credited on the song at all. Critics raved about the song, despite rumors that many members of the group didn't want to record it in the first place. Nevertheless it paved the way for such acts as Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions who would also go on to infuse much of their music with political and social commentaries.

Also along the same lines as "The Message" was the anti drug song "White Lines (Don't Do It)" which was supposedly a tribute to cocaine before the "don't do it" was added in later.

By 1983, Run DMC was emerging and Flash and the Five began their fall from the spotlight. Flash sued Sugar Hill Records for $5 million in royalties. The suit split the group in half. Melle Mel leading one side (which included a performance in the film Beat Street) and Flash on the other. Although they did reunite in 1987 to record a new album, it was not well received and the group disbanded permanently.

In 1989, Cowboy died after spending nearly two years strung out on crack. He was twenty eight years old.

Production duties for Flash away from the Furious Five and his own material was Donald D's "Don's Groove" in 1983 Just Ice's 1990 album "Masterpiece" was solely produced by him.

Group members appeared in the documentary film The Show.

Melle Mel and Scorpio released an album in entitled "Right Now" 1997.

Grandmaster Flash was the musical director of HBO's The Chris Rock Show.

Melle Mel also lent his vocal talents to the Sugarhill Gang for their album "Jump on It."

Both Flash and Melle Mel released new CD's in the beginning of 2002. Melle Mel with his new group Die Hard and Flash on his own entitled "The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash" and "Essential Mix: Classic Collection"

Grandmaster Flash has also been working on a new mixer, a turntable tournament, and other projects.

The group was recognized at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors in 2005.

Additional info by Ed Roberts, Solomonic and Da Ewoks and TMGanalog

Members
Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler) b. 1/1/57
Melle Mel (Melvin Glover) b. 5/15/??
Kidd Creole (Nathaniel Glover) b. 2/19/??
Cowboy (Keith Wiggins) b. 9/20/?? d. 9/89
Rahiem (Guy Williams) b. 2/13/??
Mr. Ness aka Scorpio (Eddie Morris) b. 11/12/??


http://www.oldschoolhiphop.com/artists/emcees/furiousfive.htm


Peace!
Isaiah
 

Omowale Jabali

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Good information. I wonder how many Black folks who look at "hip hop" pioneers and realize outside of James Brown how many white rock artists they actually borrowed, sampled or mixed from. How did herc's "dub VERSIONS" go along with Blondie, Kraftwerk, Queen and AWB?

Where did DJ Hollywood fit into all of this?
 

Isaiah

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MEMBER
Jun 8, 2004
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omowalejabali said:
Good information. I wonder how many Black folks who look at "hip hop" pioneers and realize outside of James Brown how many white rock artists they actually borrowed, sampled or mixed from. How did herc's "dub VERSIONS" go along with Blondie, Kraftwerk, Queen and AWB?

Where did DJ Hollywood fit into all of this?


To answer your last question first, brother O, D.J. Hollywood is the victim of "regional" or borough rivalry, and his own lack of ego, as regards his prominence in HipHop history... He was a MANHATTANITE, and we all know that HIPHOP began in the Boogie Down Bronx, right???(smile!) Additionally, he was a DISCO era DJ, who played downtown clubs, you know... There is a decided difference between that scene and the neighborhood scene which GMF&FF and DJ Kool Herc were involved in... There is some information about him scattered about the net, but that would be my answer to your question...

Secondly, I don't think there was any of that kind of ethnic consciousness about the records these brothers were playing and mixing... Their concern - as would be any D.J.'s - was moving the crowd... If the crowd danced to the record, they kept it in rotation... BTW, NYC is not one big homogenous city, therefore, in Brooklyn, for example, not a lot of the artists you mentioned would go over well here... Here, there was a preference for J.B or Jimmy Castor's It's Just Begun, and lot of hard-edged funk stuff...and so it went throughout the city...



Peace!
Isaiah
 

Omowale Jabali

The Cosmic Journeyman
MEMBER
Sep 29, 2005
20,817
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Temple of Kali, Yubaland
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Isaiah said:
To answer your last question first, brother O, D.J. Hollywood is the victim of "regional" or borough rivalry, and his own lack of ego, as regards his prominence in HipHop history... He was a MANHATTANITE, and we all know that HIPHOP began in the Boogie Down Bronx, right???(smile!) Additionally, he was a DISCO era DJ, who played downtown clubs, you know... There is a decided difference between that scene and the neighborhood scene which GMF&FF and DJ Kool Herc were involved in... There is some information about him scattered about the net, but that would be my answer to your question...

Secondly, I don't think there was any of that kind of ethnic consciousness about the records these brothers were playing and mixing... Their concern - as would be any D.J.'s - was moving the crowd... If the crowd danced to the record, they kept it in rotation... BTW, NYC is not one big homogenous city, therefore, in Brooklyn, for example, not a lot of the artists you mentioned would go over well here... Here, there was a preference for J.B or Jimmy Castor's It's Just Begun, and lot of hard-edged funk stuff...and so it went throughout the city...



Peace!
Isaiah

Brother Isaiah,

You say that DJ Hollywood was a "DISCO ERA" DJ. Okay, that explains something that is still puzzling to me. I have a rather extensifve collection of early "hip hop" and considering also the early videos and movies such as Krush Groove, in addition to the earlier sampling of Cream, Chic, Kraftwerk, Queen which are ROCK and/or DISCO where is the association with "hard edged funk? Even James Brown in the late 70s had turned "disco"...Lol!

I guess coming from the West Coast this is something I will never understand...this form of "tribalism" and "borough rivalry".

One the West, it was P-Funk, War, Lakeside, Brothers Johnson, Gap, Cameo and Con FunkShun that we were into at the same time and it was not until I heard Bambataa's "Planet Rock", years later that I even heard of Kraftwerk...and when I stayed in Brooklyn the summer of 84 the radio was still jamming "Trans Europe Express"...Lol!....I HATED that song...I just find amazing how folks in the Big Apple now try to disassociate themselves from the DISCO ERA (not you but others I have debated with over the years) when Black music itself HAD to have been in the mix of any Black DJ in the late 70s...Donna Summer....Gloria Gaynor..Diana Ross..are just a few obvious examples of sisters who had extended mixes which were major HITS during this era..and look at Flash today...Lol!....He definitely remixes more DISCO than FUNK...
 

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