The Furious Five’s Scorpio recently blasted Grandmaster Flash by claiming that the iconic deejay never contributed to any of the group’s music, including their 1982 hit record, “The Message.”
Fellow Furious Five member Melle Mel recently spoke with AllHipHop to weigh in on the situation and offer his side of the story.
First off, The Bronx rapper explained why Scorpio and himself have come forward to speak out regarding Grandmaster Flash’s contribution to the group’s music.
“I mean it’s real simple, it’s just plain economics,” Melle Mel says. “When we started out and was in the ground Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, we all basically came up together, helped build that name and then now – the way it is right now… Flash was the first one to understand what branding was so he took that part and he set us all out. No matter what happens, if you say ‘Grandmaster Flash,’ you think of ‘Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five,’ but you never get to the ‘Furious Five’ part. With that, he does like 200 shows a year and me and [Scorpio] are lucky to do like 9 shows. But, we all based on the same group and the same music that Flash really never had a part in the music.
“We just swept it all under the rug,” Melle Mel continues. “And he’s out there acting like he’s doing something that we never did. We bled Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. As far as the group go, I did all the heavy lifting. I wrote every song. I’m the one that worked with Quincy Jones. I was the one that worked with Chaka Khan. I was the one that worked with Harry Belafonte. Flash is sitting on the side and he’s taking all the credit. If you look at ‘The Message’ video it ain’t like there is a DJ in the video. So, the average person would come out of to see the body of work that Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five did, the average person would come to the conclusion that I was Grandmaster Flash because I was the face of the group. Somehow, he’s holding that against me like I took something away from him. I changed it to ‘Grandmaster Melle Mel’ because we’re trying to sell records. He still benefited from it. No matter what we did, it still came back to Grandmaster Flash. When I see Grandmaster Flash, he looks at me like some kind of back-up dancer… Why would he [do] that? I bled for this dude. Our names are so intertwined, if I found a cure for cancer right now, the headline would say, ‘Grandmaster Flash Finds A Cure For Cancer.’ And he knows that. That’s why we have to go through a public campaign of publicly separating ourselves, because we haven’t worked with the dude in over 15 years. He won’t come out and publicly say that. So we coming with the new campaign and the new music. Let it be known, we don’t have anything to do with each other.”
Melle Mel also spoke on whether or not himself and Scorpio are seeking legal action against Grandmaster Flash.
“Yeah, because we feel we should have the right to use the name ‘Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five,’ because that’s the only way we can get work,” he says. “Nobody’s gonna book ‘The Furious Fives,’ nobody’s gonna book ‘Grandmaster’s Furious Five,’ nobody’s gonna book ‘Grandmaster Melle Mel And The Furious Five.’ They are either gonna book ‘Grandmaster Flash’ or ‘Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.’ Even if you take away the DJ, you still should be able to work under the name of the group.”
Later in the conversation, Melle Mel reiterated Scorpio’s argument that Grandmaster Flash doesn’t wish to work with The Furious Five anymore, despite not admitting that publicly.
“The reality of it is that Flash don’t work with the group,” Melle Mel says. “Like when we did the Grammy Hall of Fame. When they inducted ‘The Message’ in the Grammy Hall of Fame, they didn’t call Sugar Hill Records, they didn’t call me – they called Flash. And Flash was gonna induct the record in the Grammy Hall of Fame and they were gonna use LL [Cool J], Lupe Fiasco, Common and Rick Ross. And the only reason we got on to do the record was because they had to call Joey [from Sugar Hill Records] to get the rights for the publishing. We were working with Joey at the time and he said they wouldn’t give them the rights unless we would be on the program to do ‘The Message.’ Other than that, he would have done ‘The Message’ with Common and them and that’s that. He don’t wanna work with us. And, at this point, I’m a grown man, I don’t necessarily wanna work with him either. Flash stands behind me, he always did… If I don’t have no problem with that, he shouldn’t have no problem with that. In the past 15 years, he’s done thousands of shows, did about three albums – none of them you could wipe your a** with – that’s how garbage they are. At the end of the day, we deserve to work how he works, because I put in my work to make Grand Master Flash Grandmaster Flash. I don’t think he put in any work to make Melle Mell Melle Mel.”
To read the full interview with Melle Mel, please visit AllHipHop.