The Message (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five song)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The Message" is an old school hip hop song by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released in 1982. The song's lyrics were some of the first in the genre of rap to talk about the struggles and the frustrations of living in the ghetto. The song was written by Sugar Hill session musician Ed "Duke Bootee" Fletcher and Furious Five MC Melle Mel. Flash and the other members of The Furious Five, although credited on the record, were uninterested in recording the song and are not found on the finished record.
The song's signature synthesizer riff has been sampled by popular rap artists such as Ice Cube and Diddy. The song's chorus of "Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge" has become one of the most well known choruses in rap music history. Lyrics from the song have also been used (albeit with varying degrees of alteration) many times in hip hop songs by artists such as Mos Def and Snoop Dogg.
Rolling Stone ranked "The Message" #51 in its List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (the second highest placing for any song released in the 1980s). In 2002, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. It was even used in a British Government commissioned public information film on road safety.
The song's signature synthesizer riff has been sampled by popular rap artists such as Ice Cube on "Check Yo Self", Puff Daddy on "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" on No Way Out (1997) and Ahmad on "Only If You Want It." The song's chorus of "Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge" has become one of the most well known choruses in rap music history. Lyrics from the song have also been used (albeit with varying degrees of alteration) many times in hip hop songs by artists such as Andre Nickatina ("Jungle" and "The Stress Factor"), AZ ("Sunshine"), Mos Def ("Close Edge"), Talib Kweli ("Broken Glass"), Snoop Dogg ("2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" and "Gangbangin 101"), Coolio ("County Line"), Mickey Avalon ("Waiting to Die"), dead prez ("Psychology"), Common ("Chapter 13 [Rich Man vs. Poor Man]"), and Immortal Technique ("Obnoxious"). In addition, it was sampled in the song "Magic Spells" by the Toronto based chiptune-band Crystal Castles.
"The Message" was included as ingame radio music for the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours, an adaption of the 1983 film. For the MTV-produced compilation album Lit Riffs: The Soundtrack in 2004, the band Katsu supplied a stripped-down cover version of "The Message". It also appears in the film Happy Feet. The second and last verse of the song are sung by Mushroomhead in the song "Born of Desire" off their XX album. Additionally, The Madow Brothers have parodied this song with dental lyrics for their dental seminars. American singer-songwriter Willy Mason also covered this song for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge on the 25th of February 2005.
In 2007, the 25th anniversary of "The Message", Melle Mel changed the spelling of his first name to Mele Mel and released "M3 - The New Message" as the first single to his first ever solo album, Muscles. 2007 is also the year that Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip-hop act ever to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "The Message" was number 5 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.