Grandmaster Melle Mel ‎– Vice (1985)

Melvin Glover (born May 15, 1961), known as Melle Mel and Grandmaster Melle Mel, is an American hip-hop musician – one of the pioneers of rap as lead rapper and main songwriter for Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five began recording for Enjoy Records and released “Superrappin'” in 1979. They later moved on to Sugarhill Records and were popular on the R&B charts with party songs, like “Freedom” and “The Birthday Party”. They released numerous singles, gaining a gold disc for “Freedom,” and also toured. In 1982 Melle Mel began to turn to more socially aware subject matter, in particular the Reagan administration’s 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 conscious hip-hop. Mel recorded a rap over session musician Duke Bootee’s instrumental track “The Jungle”. Other than Melle Mel, no members of the Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five actually appear on the record. Grandmaster Flash split from the group after contract disputes between Melle Mel and their promoter Sylvia Robinson in regard to royalties for “The Message”. When Flash filed a lawsuit against Sugar Hill Records, their label, the factions of The Furious Five parted.

Mel became known as “Grandmaster Melle Mel” and the leader of the Furious Five. The group went on to produce the anti-drug song “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)” (the unofficial music video starred up-and-coming actor Laurence Fishburne and was directed by then unknown film student Spike Lee). The record was falsely credited to “Grandmaster + Melle Mel” by Sugarhill Records in order to fool the public into thinking Grandmaster Flash had participated on the record. Mel then gained higher success appearing in the movie Beat Street, with a song based on the movie’s title. He became the first rap artist ever to win a Grammy award for “Record of the Year” after performing a memorable rap on Chaka Khan’s smash hit song “I Feel for You” which introduced hip-hop to the mainstream R&B audience. Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five had further hits with “Step Off”, “Pump Me Up”, “King of the Streets”, “Jesse”, and “Vice”, the latter being released on the soundtrack to the TV show Miami Vice.

Vice                                                 5:00

King Of The Streets                           5:08

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