Reissued curate's eggs of debut albums from key early rappers

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Sugarhill Gang – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

THE MESSAGE

SUGARHILL

Rating Star
“Rapper’s Delight” may have opened an extremely important floodgate, but God does it go on. Unexpectedly, but thankfully, three of the six tracks on the Sugarhill Gang’s 1980 debut album are exquisite post-Philly soul ballads (“Passion Play” is almost a “Moments In Love” prototype). Otherwise, the rapping has dated very badly.

On Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five’s 1982 debut, “Wheels Of Steel” and “The Message” remain astonishingly fresh, but too many gloopy ballads undermine the rest of the album. Only the brutal electro of “Scorpio” stands up. Neophytes should instead be directed to the excellent 1999 three-CD Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel compilation for a definitive Flash overview.