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Though Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five was considered the number one hip-hop group on their home turf of New York City, they only maintained a following on a local level, performing and releasing singles exclusively on the East Coast. It wasn't until the release of Sugar Hill Gang's “Rapper's Delight” that the group realized they could break into the mainstream. After signing with Sugar Hill Records, the group released their debut album The Message in 1982.
Bolstered by Flash's deft turntablism, rappers Melle Mel, Kidd Creole, and Keef Cowboy's vocals, and production which sampled everything from Chic to the Tom Tom Club to The Jimmy Castor Bunch, The Message was a revelation of sorts. More than simply being a Billboard hit for the group, the album helped cement hip-hop's credibility with mainstream audiences, and is considered a major achievement in hip-hop history. The album's title track was especially praised, and is considered one of the greatest rap tracks in music history.
It’s A Shame
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