#846: 1982, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, The Message

by Charlie_East_West on January 30, 2014

Sometimes in life, we get a pleasant surprise. This happened to me yesterday, when I heard that Grandmaster Flash is to play a gig in a pub in Cornwall in March. That’s right, Grandmaster Flash is playing a gig in a pub in Cornwall.

Cornwall is a lot of things to a lot of people, but I am guessing that the vision of seeing Grandmaster Flash playing a gig in a Cornish beach bar isn’t really close to many people’s comprehension of Cornwall or many people’s comprehension of Grandmaster Flash. But, it is a bloody marvellous collaboration, and one that I hope to witness.

I have to be at this gig. I hope he plays a number of old school hip hop tracks from the late 70’s / early 80’s such as The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel, White Lines, Rapper’s Delight (possibly the best old school hip hop song of all time), and also today’s choice of song – The Message.

The Message is one of the first ever hip hop songs with lyrical social commentary:-

My brother’s doing bad took my mother’s TV
Says she watches too much, its just not healthy
All My Children in the daytime, Dallas at night
Can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight
The bill collectors that ring my phone
And scare my wife when I’m not home
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation
Can’t take the train to the job, there’s a strike at the station
Neon King Kong standin’ on my back
Can’t stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac
A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I’m going insane, I swear I might hijack a plane

Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under

Welcome to Cornwall, Grandmaster Flash. I hope you enjoy your stay.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East January 30, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Marvellous. I reckon this is the first proper hip hop record I actually remember coming out. There was a kid in my school who kind of got it before anyone else did (would take me years). He brought the 12″ along to the school disco – when most others were bringing Abba. Not sure anyone danced. I suspect most laughed. How right he was. How wrong we were.


Charlie_East_West January 30, 2014 at 5:38 pm

White Lines was the first hip hop record I bought. I had no fucking idea what it was about!


George_East January 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm

White Lines is one of the greatest smuggle a message songs of all time. A great idea for a theme week by the way. A massively pro-drugs song that got loads of air play through purporting to be an anti-drugs song. Genius. Let’s get higher baby, indeed.


Charlie_East_West January 30, 2014 at 6:31 pm

George – I am sure you already know this, but Grandmaster Flash even supported The Clash!


George_East January 30, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Yes he did. Mick Jones was a massive hip hop fan from the v early days. The Magnificent 7 was 1980 and inspired by various clubs Jones was visiting in the Bronx while The Clash were recording and playing in New York.

Bobby_West January 30, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Charlie – can I come to the gig!? When is it…


Charlie_East_West January 30, 2014 at 8:10 pm

March 29th – fancy it? What about an ATL weekend in Cornwall?

I can book tickets tomorrow…


Bobby_West January 30, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Shame, it is Ms West’s significant birthday that weekend. Dont think we’ll make it!


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