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The Message Released 41 Years Ago Today

Written by on July 1, 2023

“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is an iconic hip-hop track that emerged during the early 1980s. Its release on July 1st, 1982 marked a significant turning point in the history of rap music. Not only did it lay the foundation for conscious hip-hop, but it also showcased the genre’s potential to address real-life issues and resonate with people on a deeper level. This article explores the impact of “The Message,” its relevance in today’s society, and Grandmaster Flash’s role as a visionary artist who transcended the conventional boundaries of rap music.

The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

The Birth of Hip-Hop and Grandmaster Flash:

The roots of hip-hop can be traced back to the streets of the Bronx, New York, in the 1970s. Grandmaster Flash, whose real name is Joseph Saddler, played a pivotal role in shaping the early hip-hop scene. As a DJ and turntablist, Flash introduced innovative techniques like backspinning and scratching, which revolutionized the art of mixing records. These skills earned him the title “Grandmaster” and established him as a central figure in the hip-hop community.

The Emergence of “The Message”:

In an era dominated by upbeat party tracks, “The Message” stood out for its raw and gritty portrayal of urban life. Released in 1982, the song confronted issues such as poverty, crime, drug addiction, and police brutality, which were often overlooked in mainstream music. The lyrics painted a vivid picture of the struggles faced by marginalized communities and captured the harsh realities of life in the inner city.

Social Commentary in Hip-Hop:

“The Message” was a groundbreaking track in hip-hop, not just for its musical innovation but also for its socially conscious lyrics. Prior to this, rap music was largely centered around party anthems and boasting rhymes. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s decision to address social issues in their music paved the way for a new subgenre known as conscious or socially conscious hip-hop. This shift marked the beginning of a movement that would later inspire artists like Public Enemy, N.W.A., and Kendrick Lamar.

The Message’s Enduring Relevance:

Despite being released over four decades ago, “The Message” remains as relevant as ever. Its exploration of systemic issues, inequality, and urban struggles echoes the challenges faced by many communities today. The song’s powerful message transcends time and serves as a reminder of the importance of using art to shed light on societal issues.

Grandmaster Flash’s Legacy:

Grandmaster Flash’s influence extends far beyond “The Message.” As a pioneer of turntablism and DJing, he played an instrumental role in shaping the hip-hop sound and culture. His innovative techniques and performances inspired generations of DJs and producers. Furthermore, his willingness to address social issues through music opened doors for future artists to use their platforms for positive change.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message” remains a milestone in the history of hip-hop. The song’s social commentary, along with Grandmaster Flash’s contributions to the art of DJing, has left an indelible mark on the genre and influenced countless artists. As we continue to grapple with ongoing social and political challenges, “The Message” serves as a reminder of the power of music to address important issues and inspire change in society.


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