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Message from Beat Street: The Best of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & the Furious Five

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 19, 1994
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Message from Beat Street: The Best of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & the Furious Five
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  • Rapper's Delight: The Best of Sugarhill Gang
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  • Greatest Hits
Total price: $31.92
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Message from Beat Street consists of tracks recorded by the various versions of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Grandmaster Melle Mel. [Note: This product is an authorized CD-R and is manufactured on demand]

Amazon.com

Is there a rap fan out there who didn't like "The Message"? It took rap in an entirely new direction: while others were content to ride the "Double Dutch Bus" down to the disco, the Furious Five spoke out about social decay. The chorus of "The Message" ("Don't push me, 'cause I'm close to the edge / I'm trying not to lose my head / Sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under") describes the effect of Reaganomics in ways that Dan Rather never could. Of course, Grandmaster Flash and company weren't against partying. In fact, they cut some of the best party tracks in the genre's history ("Freedom," "The Birthday Party"), along with some battle raps ("Step Off," "Showdown") to complete the package. Copyright restrictions probably kept the beat-edit classic "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" off the track listing. Still, one glaring omission isn't reason enough not to pick this up. --Todd Inoue
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 19, 1994)
  • Original Release Date: April 19, 1994
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros Mod Afw
  • ASIN: B00000338D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,842 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Pounds on June 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Like many of you, I've only heard "The Message" prior to purchasing this incredible 'best of' collection. As you probably know, Grandmaster Flash and company were recording the most popular rap songs in the early 80s. Most of these songs are stunningly wild and fun party jams. But in 1982, they released "The Message", which is considered to be the first rap song to be pushed from a novelty party jam, to a chilling prophecy, featuring effective social commentary. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five built a rock solid bridge for Run-D.M.C. to step in, and push their "Message" even further, which eventually brought the hardcore edge to hip-hop. Whether you know it or now, their presence is still felt to this day, since hip-hop hasn't made that drastic of a leap since Run-D.M.C. (that's quite debatable). It also helped that the production was flawlessly perfect. It featured dub, electro, and R&B that was sure to hook nearly every listener of urban radio.

So if you're in the same boat as me, you're probably asking yourself, "Are their any other good songs from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five?". Well, the answer is yes. This is probably the best single disc best of collection you'll find from these guys. These are long infectious party jams. Many of which include the artillery of a large emcee battle, such as the epic Furious Five / Sugarhill Gang collaboration of "Showdown". A song I didn't think I'd like given the title, "The Birthday Party", actually turned out to be one of my favorites. Although, "It's Nasty (Genius of Love)" would have to be one of the most under-appreciated rap songs of all time. It's got one of the most clever attacks on the compilation, and will surely please any and all hip-hop lovers.
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Format: Audio CD
Oh my god! How could I have overlooked this group for so long? I mean, I'm a true, PURE hip-hop fan from back in the days and I grew up with most of the songs on this CD (the Message, White Lines, New York New York, and Beat Street) and since I have been about 10, I've known that Grandmaster Flash was one of the founding members of hip-hop. But only in my adulthood was I able to really listen and UNDERSTAND the lyrics these brothers spit. When people talk about classics in hip-hop and the great lyricists, they go back only as far as Rakim and KRS-One. But yo, look further, man. Melle Mel was the one who influenced Rakim and you can tell on songs like the Message and especially Beat Street. His words were truly poetry as well as hard and gritty. Even at the beginning of hip-hop, all of today's elements were there: complex lyrics, dazzling cadences, hard-core bang-ya-head-in beats, and real, street rhymes. Not the thug-posturing [stuff] we got today, but Mel, Cowboy, Scorpio...these cats examined in a very real way what it means to be poor and black in this country and didn't flinch from their observations. In that, they continue the great line of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Gill-Scott Heron and the like. Even if you're not politically concsious...even if you're a pure hip-hop head like myself, you'll enjoy these fly rhymes the same way you enjoy Rakim, Kook G. Rap, Brand Nubians, Nasty Nas and all the other classic ill rhyme-slayers. If you've heard these songs a million times when you were younger. Don't sleep. Listen to them again and hear what the brothers are saying. You might be pleasantly surpised like me. Peace!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Awesome song selection, but there is one HUGE problem; Most all of the tracks are sped up 3-4% making them faster, shorter and off pitch. The only one I determined was correct was Birthday Party (I did not check tracks #1 & #11). There are a number of other more complete collections that do not suffer from the same quality issues as my copy of this particular disc. FYI, I compared freshly ripped copies of the offending tracks to other rips from different compilations (same versions) and in some cases, vinyl copies. Not what I would expect from Rhino, but then again, its hard to say where the problem originated.
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It's funny listening to what some people classify as "old-school rap". Just because it's 10 years old doesn't really make it old school... try THIRTY years ago!

Grandmaster Flash truly are THE Grand Masters of Rap (along with the Sugarhill Gang). This album contains all their biggest hits... and there are a LOT of "messages" that are actually POSITIVE... unlike most of the terribly uncreative degrading "music" that passes for rap today.
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Format: Audio CD
I'd venture to say anyone who drew breath during the years these sensations were released will recognize one of these tracks. They are all the old school of legend, clearly, but they pervaded our culture. When this music hit the scene, we all heard it.
A reviewer mentioned of this collection of the tracks that went before today's versions of urban lyrics-intensive beat-heavy music is refreshingly devoid of misogyny and other forms of violence. Though not short on rage in tracks like "The Message" and "New York New York", these songs are the music of the block party and a good time *will* be had by all. "Shake it. Show no shame." ("Scorpio")
Everything about this album is cool. The mix is an impressive survey in a go-for-broke mix. I close my eyes, and am transported to the roller rink. This music still inspires in me the same giddy feeling it did then.
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