1982: Year Four in the Hip-Hop History Video Series

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Year four sees more and more music videos being made and we still have mainly the same groups and artists from the three previous years of this series. However, 1982 sees the emergence of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five as a commercially viable group when they release one of hip-hop's most famous songs of all-time accompanied by a music video for play on MTV. The song we are talking about is of course 'The Message' with Melle Mel delivering its famous chorus:

Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under

 Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's 'The Message' vinyl single cover

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's 'The Message' vinyl single cover

'The Message' took hip-hop to the masses proving that everybody, especially the mainstream public and academia, like a good ghetto story. Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five would go on to tour extensively in the USA and even overseas, based on the success 'The Message'. They also recorded a sequel titled 'Message II (Survival)' and made a music video which was superior in terms of production but failed to make a mark and pails in comparison to the impact of the original 'Message'. In this case the more realistic, almost documentary style production of the original made for a more visceral feel where one could almost live vicariously through the video and music. This is appeal can be seen in many later rap videos where 'reality' was the number one ingredient, especially in a lot of gangsta rap where the videos could be quite simple but showed as much 'street' footage as possible as the background for the artists. In the case of the 'The Message II (Survival), although the set is a 'street', it's obviously a movie set street and doesn't invoke a feeling of reality, but rather a pop video from someone like Michael Jackson. 

 Soul Sonic Force's 'Planet Rock' single cover from 1982

Soul Sonic Force's 'Planet Rock' single cover from 1982

1982 is notable for producing a good amount of quality breakdancing tracks such as Tyrone Brunson's 'The Smurf' and the Jonzun Crew's 'Pack Jam' and the famous 'Planet Rock' by Soul Sonic Force which one of the top breakdancing tracks of all-time. While Planet Patrol's 'Play At Your Own Risk' was made from tracks that didn't make the cut of the aforementioned 'Planet Rock', the song also great and featured traditional singing and lots of keyboard playing, making it less of a hip-hop song and more like an electronic song, but still a breakdancing classic. 

 The cover to their self tilted 1984 'Crash Crew' album

The cover to their self tilted 1984 'Crash Crew' album

Funky Four Plus One make their annual appearance in this series with 'Do You Want TO Rock', which is another quality jam from the group. While Disco Four appear with 'At The Party' which features a piano riff that Nas would use some 20 years later. Disco Four also released 'Whip Rap' making this a strong year for them. Bringing an almost "new school hip-hop" (a movement that started in 1983-84) vibe to the table is the Crash Crew with 'Rock The Bells' which features a strong and simple beat made with a drum machine. Treacherous Three delivers their version of 'The Message' with 'Yes We Can-Can' which is a catchy little diddle. While Jimmy Spicer creates another fantastic dance song with the charming and catchy 'Bubble Bunch'. 

 The Fearless Four have the number one spot with 'Rockin' It'

The Fearless Four have the number one spot with 'Rockin' It'

At the number one spot, we have The Fearless Four with 'Rockin It' which features a fan-made video with some hilarious dancing from overseas. The beat is notable for sampling the Kraftwerk track 'The Man-Machine' which was also was sampled by Jay-Z on his (Always Be My) Sunshine track from 1997. Anyway 'Rockin' It' is a fantastically fun song which is a classic to this day. 

Alexander Ramalho