BHM Spotlight: “The Message”

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Today’s featured protest/political song is one of my all-time favorites, “The Message”

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5

 

Who performed it: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 in 1982

What it means:“The Message” was not the first hip hop song to address social issues directly affecting the Black community. However, what made the song stand out from others at the time was the slow beat and focus on the lyrics. The song discusses the struggles of inner city life (ie: lack of resources, clean environment, poverty, drug activity, and violence), dissatisfaction with public education (ie: apathetic teachers and students), economic woes (ie: inflation and homelessness), incarceration, and a myriad of other social issues that take a toll on the psyche and mentalities of those struggling with them.

Some of the lyrics:

[verse]

Broken glass everywhere
People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care
I can’t take the smell, I can’t take the noise no more
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkies in the alley with the baseball bat
I tried to get away, but I couldn’t get far
Cause a man with a tow-truck repossessed my car

[chorus]

Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head, ah huh-huh-huh
[2nd and 5th: ah huh-huh-huh]
[4th: say what?]
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

Full Lyrics…

Interesting Fact:  Often referred to as the greatest song in hip hop history, the “The Message” was undoubtedly influencial, and was the first hip hop record added to the United States’ National Archive of Historical Recordings.

“The Message”


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