(Photo by Dangershrew)
Its like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder/How I keep from going under
The old school hip hop continues apace with maybe the most respected track on the album. The Message was probably as big a deal as White Lines, but even more culturally significant when looking into hip hop's nascent years. It was one of the first rap songs to veer away from the posturing into describing the struggles of ghetto life; like White Lines, it's a cautionary tale of Noo Yawk life - whereas in modern day rap the gangster life is glorified, the drugs, guns and women are the shizzle, The Message describes a life where these people are looked up to, but feared; a kitchen-sink take on the glamourised and stylised ghetto.
Don't push 'cos I'm close to the edge
Youll admire all the number book takers
Thugs, pimps, pushers and the big money makers
Driving big cars, spending twenties and tens
And you wanna grow up to be just like them
Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers
Pickpockets, peddlers and even pan-handlers
You say "I'm cool, I'm no fool"
But then you wind up dropping out of high school
It's gritty and bleak, in many ways, but musically speaking it's one of the greats of early hip hop - it's synth break alone is infamous and has been copied and sampled many, many times. It's another one of those where what is now looked at as retro or passé was cutting edge at the time, and paved the way for the whole of the 80's. It's parent album, of the same title, is maybe one of the most important in understanding the roots of hip hop, so that would be your advised purchase.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five feat. Melle Mel and Duke Bootee - The Message
Buy Grandmaster Flash/Melle Mel/Duke Bootee
Tags: hip hop; rap; Grandmaster Flash; Furious Five; Melle Mel; Duke Bootee; The Message
PS. You would be exceeding remiss in not checking out Tim's most wonderful Contrast Podcast, this with the theme of 'who'. Anyone hoping for an hour of the Who will be disappointed, but anyone else will be mightily overjoyed, with some fine contributions, and mine (see here for reference).