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Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

Grandmaster Flash (real name Joseph Saddler) built a formidable reputation as a DJ in the South Bronx area of New York in 1974 and 1975. His breakdance crew began rapping, later expanding to The Furious Five.

In 1980, Rapture by Blondie introduced Flash’s name to the mainstream, and Flash & the Five released Super Rappin’ on the Enjoy label.

1981’s The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel was a landmark in sampling. That same year, the group were booed when opening for The Clash in New York.

The debut LP from the first hip-hop crew to make it to vinyl – The Message (1982) –  was also the first time the whole group was included in a recording – earlier works had replaced DJ Grandmaster Flash with the Sugar Hill studio house band, and Ed “Duke Bootee” Fletcher, a studio percussionist.

The Message is an important milestone in hip-hop’s history, displaying the key elements of lyrical delivery with breakbeats garnered from forgotten funk records.

Tensions over royalties, the recording process and the growing focus on Melle Mel as frontman caused the group to split in 1983. Flash attempted to sue Sugar Hill for $5 million dollars.

Later in 83, Sugar Hill released Mel’s White Lines (Don’t Do It) under the misleading credit ‘Grandmaster Melle Mel’.

Grandmaster Flash
Melle Mel
The Kidd Creole
Mr Ness/Scorpio