Charity Shoppin' #1: White Lines

Vision dreams of passion and all the while I think of you

I have a list as long as my arm of stuff I've been listening to that just hasn't had a look in during the world cup series, but I've promised myself I'm only going to be posting things stuck in my head, or things relevant or particularly interesting to me that day. Hence, Grandmaster Flash. I really enjoyed the whole 'research project' premise of the Festivale De Football, so I'm starting a new series today. Taking a leaf out of this guy's book, I can exclusively reveal that charity shops are the way forward. Yesterday's visit to the Wood Green Oxfam threw up a couple of CD's (the other of which is bound to feature soon enough) - amongst them was The Message: The Roots Of Rap, a (fairly budget-looking) compilation of some of the classics of old-school rap - Sugarhill Gang, Kool Moe Dee, Funky Four...

Connected to the mind...

The one that's lodged itself in my head is - unsurprisingly if you know me - White Lines (Don't Do It). It's not hip hop: it's electro.

Ah, Shaun Of The Dead. Such good times. One can identify with Shaun and Ed all the more when listening to this track, heard in the film as they leave the Winchester after Shaun is dumped. Dooby-dooby-dooby-do-dooby-do-duh aaaaaargh... I actually didn't know the full track all that well until listening to this album, but hearing it along with a bunch of other ace tracks really helps.

For those who aren't familiar, Grandmaster Flash actually doesn't appear on this song, or on his other big hit, The Message. According to Wikipedia, if you don't hear scratching, Flash ain't on it, yeah boyee. I may have paraphrased. The track is delivered then, by Melle Mel and the rest of the Furious Five with that inimitable Sugarhill house band bassline and those sweetly-sung backing vocals. For its anti-coke message, it shows a surprising familiarity with the coke culture, not least in the video: directed by a still-studying Spike Lee and starring a young Larry Fishburne, it features a bunch of fairly graphic drug-taking scenes juxtaposed alongside a sort of homeboy Pan's People dance troupe. Weird.

But of course: great song, legendary, and for its serious subject matter, great fun.

Grandmaster Flash & The Funky Five feat. Melle Mel - White Lines (Don't Do It)
Grandmaster Flash/Dillinger - White Lines/Cocaine (from the Hexstatic "Pick'n'Mix" album on Sanctuary Records)

Buy Grandmaster Flash/Hexstatic

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