The group began recording for Sugar Hill Records and were popular on the R&B charts with party songs and the like. In 1982 Melle Mel began to turn to more socially aware subject matter, in particular the Reagan administrations economic (Reaganomics) and drug policies, and their effect on the black community. A song entitled “The Message” became an instant classic and one of the first glimmers of conscientious hip-hop. Mel would also go on to write songs about struggling life in New York City (“New York, New York”), and making it through life in general (“Survival”). Grandmaster Flash split from the group after contract disputes between Melle Mel and their promoter Sylvia Robinson in regards to royalties for “The Message”. Mel became known as “Grandmaster Melle Mel” and is now the leader of the Furious Five.
The group went on the produce the anti-drug song “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” (the unofficial music video was directed by then unknown film student Spike Lee & starred an unknown Lawrence Fishburne. Mel then gained higher success appearing in the movie entitled “Beat Street”, with a powerful song based on the movies title. Mel also performed on Chaka Khan’s hit song “I Feel for You” which introduced hip-hop to the mainstream R&B audience.
1988 after an almost 4 year layoff, Mel and Flash reunited and released the album “On The Strength”, but with up and coming and more advanced artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Public Enemy,Boogie Down Productions and Big Daddy Kane dominating the hip-hop market, the album failed miserably.
(He is sometimes spelled Mele Mel).
As the primary lyricist for Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, Melle Mell was responsible for some of Hip-Hop’s earliest hits such as “Superappin”, “Birthday Party” as well as many eternal classics like “Beat Street”, “White Lines (Don’t Do It)”, “The Message”, and “New York, New York”. Melle Mel was the 1st to MC in a new rhymee cadence, and he changed the way every MC rhymed thereafter. His downbeat on the two, four, kick to snare cadence is still the rhyme foundation MCs build on today. Melle Mel showed the Hip-Hop world that we could use the music for more than dance. We could communicate our social, political, and spiritual views to try to help each other shed light on major issues. He is one of the most respected MCs in Hip-Hop history with an unparalleled lyrical ability.
Edited by Bagacios on 31 Jan 2008, 22:19
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