Grandmaster Flash Gets Another Chance to Shine
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:
So Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will mark a milestone tomorrow when it inducts its first hip hop artists, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
(Soundbite of song, "New York New York")
GRANDMASTER FLASH (Hip Hop Artist): (Singing) Too many people, too much. A baby cries...
ELLIOTT: Grandmaster Flash, who was born Joseph Saddler, helped turn the turntable into a musical instrument, manipulating the vinyl with his hands. He pioneered cutting and scratching, tricks that are part of every DJ's musical vocabulary today. The Furious Five were some of the earliest and most verbally adept rapping MCs. The group formed in the South Bronx and issued its first record, "Super Rappin'," in 1979. But it was their 1982 hit, "The Message," that proved rap could be more than just party music.
(Soundbite of song, "The Message")
GRANDMASTER FLASH: (Singing) 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. Standing...
ELLIOTT: "The Message" opened the door for rap to become what Public Enemy's Chuck D later calls the black CNN, brining the stories of African American life in the inner city to a wider audience. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five went their separate ways in the mid-'80s. But they will be together tomorrow night at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where they will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with this year's other nominees, The Ronettes, Patti Smith, Van Halen and R.E.M.
(Soundbite of song "The Message")
GRANDMASTER FLASH: (Singing) 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. My brother's doing fast on my mother's TV. Says she watches too much, it's just not healthy. "All my Children" in the daytime, "Dallas" at night, can't even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.