The story of the Furious 5 Emcees is one of many firsts. These Bronx natives were the first rap artists to win Grammy awards, guest star with R&B artists (Chaka Khan with Melle Mel on “I Feel For You” in 1984), first to inject social commentary into rap, with the genre changing “The Message” in 1982, first to endorse a political candidate with the song “Jesse” in 1984, first to be inducted into the rock & roll hall of fame and the list goes on.
That’s just the commercial side, after rap was released on records. Before rap was released on records they were the first to write full rhymes on the beat – unlike the nursery style that many Djs were using at the time. The Furious 5s legendary Dj Grandmaster Flash was the first to scratch & cut, literally using the turntable as an instrument. The call & response technique, that is now a staple in rap live performances was pioneered by The Furious… Read more
The nucleus of the Furious 5 has 2 parts. Grandmaster Flash’s need for an Emcee to entertain crowds while he did his turntable magic, and the chemistry that siblings Nathaniel and Melvin Glover had with composing rhymes. Keith Cowboy was the perfect fit for the Grandmaster Flash, with his call and response tactics, and his ability to control a crowd. Cowboy is regarded by many pioneers of the genre to be the first Emcee.
The Glover siblings, better known as Kid Creole and Melle Mel, originated the back and forth style that Run – DMC made popular. When Mel, Creole and Cowboy joined forces they were known as the 3 M.C.s, with Flash on the wheels. This was 1977 before anyone ever thought a rap record could be a reality. Mel’s childhood friend and break dancing partner Mr. Ness, aka Scorpio joined making the group the Furious 4. Rahiem from the Funky 4 was the last to join cementing the legendary Furious 5.
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 recorded “We Rap More Mellow” for Brass records in 1979, and Super Rappin’ for Enjoy Records in the same year. The momentum picked up when the group signed with Sugar hill Records in 1980 and recorded “Freedom”. A string of classics such as “Showdown”, “It’s Nasty”, “The Message”, “White Lines”, “New York New York”, “Beat Street Breakdown” and many more followed. Monetary disputes arose following “The Message” and the group split into two factions soon after. Flash took Rahiem and Kid Creole with him, and Melle Mel became Grandmaster Melle Mel, and took Cowboy & Scorpio.
Neither faction rekindled the magic of the original group. In 1988 the original crew got together and signed with Elektra records. They released “Gold” and the full length LP “On The Strength”. Throughout the years various members have recorded several solo projects, and the Furious minus Flash reunited in 1990 and recorded the “Piano” LP. Unfortunately the Furious lost Cowboy in 1990. In 2007 Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 became the first ever rap group to be inducted into the rock & roll hall of fame! Today the Furious 5 still tour the world to the delight of a dedicated fan base.
Biography courtesy of The Official Website of The Furious 5
01 – Fatback Band – King Tim III (Personality Jock) (Snippet) (7 inch, 1979)
02 – Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight (Snippet) (12 inch, 1979)
03 – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 – Birthday Party (12 inch, 1981)
04 – Spoonie G – The Godfather (Snippet) (12 inch, 1987)
05 – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 – The Message (The Message, 1982)
06 – Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five – White Lines (Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five, 1984)
07 – Chaka Khan – I Feel For You (feat Mele Mel) (Snippet) (I Feel For You, 1984)
08 – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 – Scorpio (The Message, 1982)
Background music during the interview:
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 – The Message, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 – Superappin’, Fatback Band – King Tim III, Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 – Freedom, Spoonie G – The Godfather, Sugarhill Gang – Passion Play, Sugar Hill Gang – The Lover In You, Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet, NWA – Fuck The Police, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 – Dreamin’, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 – Showdown