"The Message" is a song by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. It was released as a single by Sugar Hill Records on July 1, 1982 and was later featured on the group's first studio album, The Message. "The Message" was the first prominent hip hop song to provide a lyrical social commentary. It took rap music from the house parties to the social platforms later developed by groups like Public Enemy, N.W.A., and Rage Against The Machine. "The Message" is a social narrative that details the struggles and difficulties due to living in poverty in the inner-city. In addition, it embodies the distress, anger, and sadness an individual experiences when confronting these inequalities. The description of various social and economic barriers followed by the mantra “don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge, I’m trying not to lose my head” exemplifies that it is not just the disparity in opportunity that is oppressive but also the emotional response that is debilitating. It is frequently referred to as the greatest record in hip hop history and was the first Hip-Hop record ever to be added to the United States' National Recording Registry of historic sound recordings. Though not the first in the genre of rap to talk about the struggles and the frustrations of living in the ghetto, the song was unique in that it was set to a slower beat, refocusing the song on the lyrics over the music.
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