First Listen: Grandmaster’s Furious 5 ft Mele Mel and Scorpio – Some Kind of Sorry
Grandmaster’s Furious 5 is made up of two pioneers of the original South Bronx Rap scene and creators of Hip Hop subculture; Mele Mel and Scorpio.
Fathers of today’s multi-billion dollar Rap industry, Mele Mel and Scorpio are to Hip Hop what Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are to Rock and Roll. Having toured the world as Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 with the likes of U2, The Police, The Clash, Prince and Duran Duran as well as many Hip Hop greats, their recordings are amongst the most sampled in the history of Rap music.
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 became a household name on the strength of records like ‘Freedom’, ‘The Message’, ‘White Lines’, ‘Superrappin’, ‘Beat Street’, ‘New York, New York’, ‘Survival’ and ‘Scorpio’. In the UK, the group charted in the top ten with ‘White Lines’, ‘Beat Street’ and ‘Step Off’.
‘The Message’ was the first Rap song to contain a social commentary and is in the archives of the Library of Congress for its social relevance within that time period. The song is considered one of the twenty-five most important of the last fifty years, proven by the fact that in 2013 ‘The Message’ was the first Hip Hop record inducted into the Grammy’s Hall of Fame.
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12th 2007, the first and only Rap group to have been given this honour. The group have also been honored on the Bronx Walk of Fame, with a street named after them.
Quincy Jones used The Furious Five’s vocal talents for two Grammy award winning albums, 1995’s ‘Qs Jook Joint’, which was Jones’ first studio album in six years and 1989’s ‘Back on the Block’. The Furious Five also lent their voices to the legendary Chaka Khan for her Grammy-winning hit single ‘I Feel For You’, earning a Grammy for Mele Mel, the first for any Rap artist. Also among their many achievements is their performance on the anti-apartheid song ‘Sun City’, created by Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist Steven Van Zandt, which saw The Furious Five performing with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin of the Temptations, Ruben Blades, Miles Davis & Herbie Hancock.
The Furious 5 revolutionised music, helping to create a template for the industry that exists today, yet even now Mele Mel and Scorpio are pushing the boundaries of expectation by taking their sound in a new direction. New single ‘Some Kind of Sorry’ boasts lyrically dextrous and incisively delivered raps juxtaposed with a biting guitar riff, pounding drums and an infectious, melodic sung chorus. This genre crossing record will appeal to the group’s original fanbase as well as bringing their music to a new generation.
About Grandmaster’s Furious 5 ft Mele Mel & Scorpio:
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five formed in the South Bronx of New York City in 1978 and comprised five rappers Mele Mel, The Kidd Creole, Keith Cowboy, Scorpio, and Rahiem, together with one DJ, Grandmaster Flash.
The group’s use of turntablism, break-beat deejaying, choreographed stage routines and lyricism was a significant force in the early development of Hip Hop music.
Whilst rapping a scat routine at a party for a friend who had just joined the US Army, Cowboy began scat singing the words “hip/hop/hip/hop” in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of the marching drill. He then worked the “hip hop” cadence into part of his performance. This evolved into the term ‘Hip Hop’, which was later adopted by the industry.
Melvin ‘Mele Mel’ Glover, the first person to call himself MC, was born in The Bronx in New York City. A former Break Dancer aka B-Boy, he was responsible for writing the first Hip Hop style rhyme. He is known as an exceptional lyricist, songwriter and hip hop pioneer.
Eddie ‘Mr. Ness/Scorpio’ Morris was born in The Bronx in New York City and was also a Break Dancer before picking up the microphone. Scorpio was instrumental in the group’s uniform style through the 1980’s when they wore leather. Scorpio is known for his dexterous rhymes and flamboyant poses on stage, in photos and videos.
DJ Grandmaster Flash does not perform with the lineup currently touring. Originator of the ‘scratch’, Joseph Sadler aka Grandmaster Flash was the DJ in the group and never recorded on any of the records that were released under the name Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5. UK top ten hits ‘White Lines’, ‘Step Off’, and ‘Beat Street’ were recorded after Grandmaster Flash was released from the group. The single ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’ is credited to ‘Grandmaster & Mele Mel’.
The Furious Five have influenced many musical acts such as The Cold Crush Brothers, Run-D.M.C., Whodini, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One, EPMD, Stetsasonic, Doug E. Fresh, Salt-n-Pepa, Ultramagnetic MC’s, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Eminem, Pharoahe Monch, Busta Rhymes, DJ Quik, Beastie Boys, Hieroglyphics, Too Short, Wu-tang Clan, Digital Underground, Tupac Shakur, NWA, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ludacris, Heavy D, and The Roots, among many others. Ice Cube recorded a song titled ‘Check Yo Self’ with Das EFX, the remix of which sampled the music of ‘The Message’.
On March 12th, 2007 Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted into prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with R.E.M., The Ronettes, Patti Smith and Van Halen.