In hip-hop's History Book, The Furious 5 has a long, impressive chapter. The story of trailblazing hip-hop superstars The Furious 5 emcees is distinguished by several groundbreaking "firsts." The prolific Bronx natives were the first rap artists to win Grammy Awards, the first rappers to endorse a political candidate with the song "Jesse" (1984), the first hip-hop group to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2007), the first to inject social commentary into rap, with the genre changing/consciousness raising song "The Message" (1982), and the list goes on.
Legendary trendsetters, The Furious 5 is an important part of hip-hop history and is widely considered to be an undeniable Cornerstone of Hip-Hop. Largely regarded as The Voices, the collective is partly responsible for the creation of the billion dollar rap record industry and the subculture called hip-hop. They also pioneered the call and response technique in rap, which is now a staple in live hip-hop performances. They are to hip-hop what the Rolling Stones are to rock.
They began as the nucleus of the group Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5, in the Boogie Down, 35 years ago. The Furious 5 was originally comprised of the Glover siblings, better known as The Kidd Creole and Mele Mel, along with Rahiem, Scorpio and Cowboy. Cowboy passed away in 1989, and today's group is going strong with original emcees The Kidd Creole, Mele Mel, Rahiem and Scorpio. The Furious 5 has toured the world with the likes of U2, The Police, The Clash, Prince and Duran Duran. Their recordings are among the most sampled in the history of recorded hip-hop. They made the group a household name with a string of smash hits, like "Freedom," "The Message," "White Lines," "Superrappin," "Beat Street," "New York, New York," "Survival," "Scorpio" and "Birthday Party," to name a few. Music maestro Quincy Jones used Mele Mel's vocal talents for his Grammy-winning albums, "Back On The Block" and "Q's Jook Joint." Mele Mel also lent his voice to the legendary Chaka Khan for her Grammy Award winning single, "I Feel For You." The Furious 5 also contributed a song on legendary rocker Rick James' "Coldblooded" album and on Steppenwolf's John Kaye's "Magic Carpet Ride" (1988) on that group's last recorded album, "On The Strength."
Among The Furious 5's many accolades is the fact that their song "The Message" was added to the prestigious Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC as one of the 100 greatest songs ever recorded. The song is also in the archives of the Library of Congress for its social relevance in its time period. It's clearly considered one of the most important 25 songs of the past 50 years. Emcees Mele Mel and Scorpio also performed on the anti-apartheid song "Sun City," created by Bruce Springsteen guitarist Steven Van Zandt. On that project, which included a video, they performed along with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin of The Temptations, Ruben Blades, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. On the local front, they were also honored where it all started, at the Bronx Walk of Fame.
The Furious 5 has put an indelible mark on the genre of rap and hip-hop with their illustrious career and created a template for the industry that exists today. And the upside is that these unforgettable, entertaining emcees are not yet done with creating memorable moments and milestones in rap music...they're working on the Next Chapter.
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